POLICE are reminding people to make sure gifts and new goods bought for Christmas and in the January sales are security coded.

Wayne Cooke, harm reduction inspector for West Mercia Police, is urging people to write their post code on items with an ultra-violet pen, take a note of the make and model and serial number of the goods and record any marks on items.

They are also asked to take photographs of particularly valuable or unusual goods, make sure insurance policies are up-to-date - and to register items on free national property register www.immobilise.com to help police return them if they are stolen and later recovered.

Insp Cooke said: “After the festive season houses are full of brand new things, making them a potential Aladdin’s cave for burglars; but if people take a few moments to postcode their property it will help trace the goods if you are unfortunate enough to be burgled.

“Marking property also acts as a deterrent to would be thieves. If they know your belongings have been marked they are more likely to look elsewhere because if they are caught in possession of property which the police can prove has been stolen it will mean more trouble for them.”

As well as marking items with an ultra-violet pen, people can also use forensic marking products to mark property with a special code which is unique to the owner, allowing property to be easily identified.

But he said the best way to avoid becoming a target for burglars was for people to make sure their homes were safe and secure.