• Hey, you’ve bought an alarm! People usually do – after I’ve been round.
• We’ve already met. I was here just last week, offering to patch your roof or clear your gutters. It didn’t take me long to see where you keep your keys.
• You often invite me in. Three times out of ten I’ll get in through an unlocked door or an open window. Sometimes I pose as a market researcher or metre reader, flashing an ID card I’ve printed. Or I’ll keep you talking while my mate runs in through your back door.
• Uh-oh, a gravel drive... you’ll hear me coming a mile off.
• Neighbourhood Watch stickers work. I’m not going to go there if I spot one, am I? Signs saying your property is marked are a turn-off too, because the stuff is harder to shift. And I’ll always think twice if I see “Beware of the dog”.
• That’s not graffiti on your gate. It’s a tag that tells my gang you’re vulnerable. Paint it out and call your local Crime Protection Officer.
• Your privacy = my perfect opportunity. If there are trees, high fences and a solid gate round your front garden, once I’m inside I can’t be seen. I’ll give your house a miss if you have security lights and wrought iron gates. And I hate fences with trellis on top – it gives way when I climb up.
• Psst – I know about the fake soup cans and your other secret hiding places. I’ll search your bed, ransack the kids’ rooms and look in cereal boxes and the fridge. If you want to keep your money safe, put it in the bank.
• Use your garage. Then I can’t see your Porsche, let alone nick it.
• Pyracantha is a nightmare. So plant it beneath the windows. It’s also called firethorn, and along with hawthorn, blackthorn and holly, is one of the plants I avoid.
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