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Holiday makers jetting off to sunnier climes could be giving thieves a passport to their property warns Swinton.

Security measures seem to be the last thing on people’s minds when setting off on holiday as the UK’s leading high street insurance retailer Swinton reveals 63% of home owners don’t lock away their valuables out of sight when they’re away on holiday.

According to a YouGov survey of 2,000 adults, an astonishing 7% of people make no attempt to secure their home when on holiday and only 10% arrange for a house sitter to keep an eye on everything.

Over half of all burglaries committed occur when the house is unoccupied* and Swinton’s advising homeowners to make their house look lived in when they’re away as a deterrent to thieves.

Chris Collings Director of Insurer Development at Swinton said: “Holidays are a time for relaxing and having fun, not a time to be worrying about what’s going on at home. But the truth is that without taking proper security precautions, your home may be more vulnerable to thieves and no one wants to return home to a burglary.

“It’s also worth remembering that some household insurance policies might not cover you if you’ve said that you have a burglar alarm but then it’s not activated at the time of a break in. It’s always worth checking your small print or talking to your broker if you’re unsure about what your home insurance policy details are.”

However, Swinton’s results showed that there are some security savvy people out there who already take steps to protect their house when away. Thirty five percent of people will set light timers to create the impression that there’s someone in and 31% of people will organise for a neighbour to collect the post so a pile of unopened post doesn’t collect under the letterbox.

Interestingly, the survey by Swinton also revealed that people are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious when leaving their home unattended with 53% switching off all plugs. This not only reduces the amount of electricity consumed and therefore Co2 emissions, it also reduces the risk of an electrical fire.

Swinton’s online home insurance provides contents cover of up to £50,000.

Swinton’s top 10 tips for making your home secure when on holiday:
1) Set light timers - if the lights turn on and off at certain intervals then it creates the impression that there is somebody living in the house
2) Organise for a neighbour to collect the post- if the post is lying visible in the hallway/porch it shows a thief that there is nobody in
3) Cancel any milk or newspaper deliveries - if there is a newspaper hanging out of the door or milk sitting around outside then it is clear nobody is home
4) Disconnect the telephone answering machine or re-word your greeting message to give the impression that you are only temporarily unable to answer
5) Ask a neighbour, friend or relative to keep a regular eye on your property and keep the front door clear of deliveries
6) Lock up or make sure valuable items at put out of sight from the outside
7) If you have to leave a ladder out, put it on its side and lock it to a secure fixture with a 'close shackle' padlock or heavy-duty chain. This stops thieves using your own ladder to break into an upstairs window
8) Cut the lawn before you go and trim back any plants - this creates the impression that the house is inhabited as it is well maintained
9) If you do not have an alarm, consider investing a few pounds in a dummy alarm box. It may well deter the opportunist thief
10) Finally, make sure that you've locked all outside doors and windows and, if you have a burglar alarm, make sure it is set

- ENDS –
* According to statistics from the Home Office
Notes to Editors
• All figures are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,955 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken from 11th to 14th July 2008. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
For further information please contact Adele Mandy, Pete Wrathmell or Daniel Kennedy at Spinoza Kennedy Vesey PR on Tel: 0161 838 7770 or email:

About Swinton
• With 470 branches nationwide Swinton is the UK’s largest high street insurance retailer.
• Unlike many other companies in the financial services industry, Swinton is committed to keeping its branches open for business, and being part of the community.
• Swinton provides a one-stop-shop for the insurance and related needs of its clients, offering home, car, caravan, business, holiday, motorbike and even classic car insurance
• With a dedicated team of advisors on hand at every branch to search a panel of insurers to offer quality cover at competitive rates

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of SKV Communications Ltd in the following categories: Home & Garden, Women's Interest & Beauty, Personal Finance, for more information visit