POLICE have warned of the dangers of leaving car keys near the door after this makeshift 'hook and cane' device was found dumped in Latchford.

As the dark nights creep in, officers have reminded residents not to make it easy for opportunistic thieves.

This contraption was found near the entrance of the Powder Mill estate.

This type of pole is used by burglars to reach through letterboxes and hook keys and other valuables from nearby tables or stairs.

PC Richard Whitehead has reminded residents to keep their car keys out of sight.

He said: "When the clocks go back, there is typically a rise in this type of crime.

"Burglars can easily reach into your home to steal keys, wallets and handbags by fishing through letter boxes with a cane that has a hook or magnet attached to the end.

“To avoid becoming a victim of these types of crime, we are asking people to make sure that they keep their bags and keys well out of sight from the front door and ground floor windows.

“This includes not leaving keys on the stairs.

“Residents can also fit a letterbox deflector, set their alarm and leave a light on when they go out to give the impression that the house is occupied.

"It should go without saying but residents should always remember to lock their vehicle when it is left unattended."