THIS Sunday will see the clocks go back, marking the start of darker nights over winter ­— and an extra hour in bed.

But more hours of darkness can make homes a target for burglars, and residents are being warned to be more vigilant and take steps to avoid being caught out by criminals.

Police have warned that burglaries rise at this time of year as opportunities to enter homes become easier to see.

Homes left in darkness can signify no one is at home, attracting thieves.

To confront the problem, officers are now advising people of a few simple protective steps they can take, such as light timers or leaving on lights and televisions, to deter criminals.

Superintendent Dave Pester, Greater Manchester Police's Force Lead for Burglary, said: “Burglaries can happen any time of the day, so it is essential everyone remains vigilant, both day and night.

"If we can all be more proactive in following our advice, burglary should continue to fall.”

Over the coming months neighbourhood officers in uniform and plain clothes will be active in burglary hotspot areas and targetting known offenders, GMP has said.

They will also be available to offer advice and crime prevention information to homes they identify as being left insecure.

Superintendent Pester added: “Data shows over half of burglaries happen due to homes being insecure. Taking simple steps such as keeping doors locked even when at home, ensuring windows are secure and using the alarm if one is installed can all make a big difference."

“Keeping valuables well hidden, ensuring keys are kept away from letter boxes and cat flaps, good outside lighting and investing in a faraday bag — lined with metal to block key’s signal ­— can all help make it harder for burglars, inside and outside of our homes.

"Furthermore, ensuring ladders and tools are stored away so they cannot be used to enter your home and keeping hedges trimmed to allow visibility of property all help in our residents playing their part.

“Darker nights create a longer window for burglars to enter homes under darkness, so its important residents use lights to give the impression someone is home."

You can also register your property on free valuables database,, to safeguard your possessions and help return stolen items.

Once registered, goods are saved on a national database meaning police around the country can trace items' rightful owners.

To report a crime or any suspicious activities contact police via the Live Chat on the GMP homepage, call 101, or 999 in an emergency, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.