SOUTH Lakeland residents have been urged to lock up their properties after a string of more than 40 burglaries.

Since September, 42 reported house burglaries have taken place across Kendal and its surrounding villages, including Brigsteer and communities off the A6, a meeting was told.

Police, who have increased patrols, said the offences occurred in streets next to each other and were taking place on different days of the week rather than showing a recognisable pattern.

Many involved premises where doors were left unlocked or windows and garages were left open, the meeting was told.

Chief inspector Martin Loebell said 42 burglaries was a "big number," but it had not led to a massive increase in South Lakeland's burglary rate.

However, he said it was unusual for an area like Kendal to see quite so many in such a short period of time.

Chief Insp Loebell said: “We are still finding that a large number of burglaries are people not locking their doors at night or leaving windows open when the weather’s nice and I totally understand it.

"People open their windows and pop into their back garden for a barbecue, but we have to keep getting the message out there to lock your doors and shut your windows.

"We are not complacent about it. One burglary is one burglary too many and no cop likes burglars. We all want to catch them because it has a massive impact on the victim."

The issue was raised at a meeting in Kendal of the South Cumbria Community Safety Partnership, which brings police, councillors, probation officials and other partners together.

Insp Paul Latham warned that if people left garages unlocked it created a clear "opportunity" for criminals travelling through the area.

He urged people who saw anything suspicious to report it immediately - particularly if it was taking place at night.

"If you see anything suspicious, or your neighbour is away and you see something, get in touch with us," said Insp Latham.

Figures for January to December last year show that South Lakeland has fewer than five burglaries for every 1,000 people - lower than the Barrow, North West and England average.

Responding to the news, Councillor Guy Tirvengadum, the Mayor of Kendal, said: "Kendal is generally a safe place to live and work. Together with the residents of Kendal, we are very concerned at what appears to be a targeted increase in burglaries within the town.

"We want to work with the police to do all that we can to stop this increase so that residents can feel safe in their homes again."

In a statement yesterday, Insp Latham added: "We are taking action to target offenders and prevent further burglary offences. The rise averages out as seven burglaries a month, in an area with a population of around 30,000. This may seem few to some but we are keen to disrupt those who steal from others.

"We are a rural area with a brilliant community and the increase is a concern to us, as one burglary is one too many. These crimes will not be tolerated and we are investigating intelligence to identify offenders and bring them to justice. Patrols in the community have, and will remain, increased in the community for the foreseeable future.

"Being a victim of such offences is not a nice feeling as many struggle to feel safe in their own home, which no-one should tolerate. I ask that you avoid this happening by taking on the crime prevention advice that we issue on a regular basis."

Home safety advice includes:

Remove keys from locks and keep out of reach of windows & doors

Ensure side gates and sheds are locked

Keep gifts, cash and valuables safe and well hidden, so they can’t be seen or reached by thieves

Consider fitting a burglar alarm and low energy dusk to dawn lighting, check regularly to ensure they work

Ensure your house is secure, preventing someone entering when you are busy elsewhere in the house or garden

Postcode your valuables with a UV pen, consider registering them on

Leave a light on in a room and draw curtains when you go out at night

Look out for your neighbour’s property

Report suspicious activity

Consider joining a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme

Cancel newspapers, milk etc. when you go on holiday

Make sure callers to your home are genuine, always ask for ID

Do not publish on social media that your house is empty – post about trips and holidays when you return home

If you witness any suspicious activity contact police on 101 or speak to a police officer or PCSO. If you witness a crime in action call 999.

Alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.