POLICE are urging people to be vigilant in a bid to deter burglaries and break-ins in Ryedale.

Officers are appealing to residents to report any suspicious vehicles, particularly in rural areas, where outbuildings and sheds continue to be targeted by thieves.

Sergeant Donna Musgrove, of Malton police, said people needed to ensure their property was secure and check it on a regular basis.

“Anyone who sees a suspicious vehicle in their area or that appears to be ‘looking’ at property should be reported to the police straight away,” she said. “These criminals tend to start around late afternoon until the early hours of the morning, so it is not just at night-time.”

Sgt Musgrove said people should also look out for chalk marks being left on footpaths to direct criminals. “Although we haven’t had any reported incidents in Ryedale, this is something that does tend to be carried out in rural areas,” she said.

“Criminals may leave chalk marks with different symbols indicating properties were there is plenty to steal or to the home of a vulnerable person.”

Sgt Musgrove said anyone who spotted strange markings should contact police straight away.

“We are more than happy to take a look and offer residents advice on security,” she said.