HOME owners across West Yorkshire are being asked put their houses in the spotlight and avoid falling prey to opportunist thieves.

Police have issued a timely warning on crime - two days before the clocks go back.

Det Insp John Minary, Crime Reduction Officer for the force, said taking a few simple steps to ensure houses were well lit could prevent a burglary.

He said: "We need to dispel the myth a burglar is someone who spends time casing houses to break in, when they are in fact opportunists looking for a weaknesses in security.

"A house in darkness offers one such weakness. It tells the offender there is no one at home and they won't be seen committing the crime.

"Taking a few simple measures to make sure your house is well lit could reduce the amount of people becoming victims of this very upsetting crime."

Ideas include:

* Fit security lighting such as dusk to dawn energy efficient lighting that will come on automatically.

* Automatic time switches on indoor lights around your home are cheap and very effective. Just make sure they switch regularly.

* Ensure gates to the rear of your house are locked and ensure tools, which can be used by thieves to break in, are also locked away.

* Make sure overgrown plants are cut back to avoid giving burglars a hiding place.

* Secure windows, paying particular attention to those on the ground floor and above flat roof areas. Keep all keys, especially car keys, out of sight.

* Property mark your valuables by using your postcode and house number. It is hard to sell property that has been marked in this way.

* Stickers, which are available from your local police station, can be placed on the front of your house to tell a burglar your property has been marked.

Further crime prevention advice is available at www.westyorkshire.police.uk or the Home Office site, www.homeoffice.gov.uk, or by contacting your local Crime Prevention Officer on 0845 6060606.