BURGLARS are continuing to ransack houses across South Cheshire because people are ignoring police warnings to lock doors.
Annual figures released last month showed nearly a third of all break-ins in the area were carried out at homes where a door was left open or unlocked.
About 371 houses in Crewe and Nantwich were burgled, and at 130 of them the door had not been locked.
The figures coincided with Crewe Police's Clock a Burglar campaign, which was launched to clamp down on light-fingered thieves who are prone to strike during the darker evenings.
But despite officers urging people to take better precautions to stem the alarming statistics, advice has not been heeded.
The force says a third of all burglaries are still being carried out through doors which have been left open or unlocked.
Detective Constable Andy Collier, of Crewe CID, said: 'The run-up to Christmas is always a peak time for burglaries because presents have been bought and stored and the long evenings provide extra working hours for the criminal.
'Many insurance companies are now refusing to pay out in cases where the house is left insecure.
'Locking the doors and windows is a first step. Using a timer switch or leaving a light switched on when you go out at night is another.
'We want to see these figures reduced to nil but even if it was reduced by just 10% it would make a big difference to the crime statistics in Crewe and Nantwich Division.'