Winter is traditionally the worst time of year for burglaries and there was no shortage of reports in Kent last year.

Kent Police made 98 burglary related arrests during their annual winter crackdown Operation Castle, which runs from Halloween to the New Year.

Burglaries increase during this time of year because of the darker evenings, and properties are often left empty whilst people enjoy the festive period.

More than 700 reports of residential burglaries alone were reported to Kent Police in December, with the majority coming from north Kent.

In Dartford, Gravesham, Medway and Swale, 293 reports of burglary were made in December and police made 21 charges over the month.

In West Kent, including Sevenoaks, Maidstone and Tonbridge, 211 burglaries were reported and seven charges were made.

Police received 225 reports of burglary in east Kent, and 12 charges were made.

A spokesman for Kent Police has urged the public to remain vigilant despite December being over - and take steps to deter would-be crooks from breaking in.

Advice given by police includes:

Ensure doors and windows are secure before leaving your property.

Keep keys, cash and expensive items out of view;

Use timer switches on lights and radios to make your home look occupied;

Keep gates locked and boundaries secure;

Lock away bikes, tools and garden items that could be stolen or used to break into your home.

You can also:

Security-mark items including bicycles, smartphones and laptops;

Keep receipts and serial numbers safe;

Photograph and insure expensive or unique items;

Install a safe, bolted to the ground or a wall, or use a safety deposit box at the bank.