Police are asking students in the East Oxford area to make sure they secure their homes when they go for a night out - and also when they get back.

The warning today comes after a number of incidents in which thieves have followed university students back to their homes and broken in through doors or windows that have been left open.

Pc Craig Burchall, based at Oxford police station, said: "If houses are left insecure offenders can get in through the front door and grab the nearest valuables - particularly handbags, wallets, car keys and laptop computers.

"We have also had a few incidents recently when thieves have followed students back to their homes after they have been out and have made their way in through insecure doors and windows."

Crime reduction adviser Graham Milne is offering the following advice to students:

  • If you have a UPVC front door, make sure you lock it from the inside and remove the key at night
  • Keep the key nearby but out of sight so that you can get out of the house quickly in an emergency
  • Keep all windows on the ground floor shut at night time and only open them during the day if you are in the room
  • Do not leave keys in your door or window locks
  • Remove all keys, handbags and purses/wallets from sight
  • Keep your back door shut and locked and only open it when you need to
  • Use exterior lighting
  • Fit a burglar alarm if you can.

Anyone who sees any suspicious should contact police on 08458 505505 or call the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555111.