Winter 'an ideal time to improve home security'

The festive season is an ideal time to carry out enhancements to the security of a property, according to Halifax Home Insurance.

David Rochester, head of underwriting for the firm, explained in recent days that darker nights provide cover for thieves and potential for "rich pickings" beneath a Christmas tree may be too much of a temptation for them to resist.

As such, he recommends that consumers take a few steps to avoid becoming a victim, such as fitting visible key-operated locks to windows, installing security lights to properties and investing in a burglar alarm.

"Expensive items such as mp3 players, jewellery, mobile phones and car keys left on full view near windows are an open invitation to burglars," he warns.

The news that may be of interest to those looking to buy a house in Scotland, or who have recently purchased a property, follows figures published by insurance firm Liverpool Victoria, which suggest that average home contents are now worth £25,000.