POLICE in Highcliffe are urging residents to take extra care securing their homes and businesses after a spate of crime in the area.

The Highcliffe and Walkford Safer Neighbourhood Team have issued the warning after an “unusually” active period of criminal activity in the area including burglaries and thefts.

Two armed robberies have taken place recently in the seaside village – one at the Post Office in Lymington Road and another at the Mace store in Saulfland Place.

Two men have been charged with the robberies as well with another at Co-op in South-bourne.

And earlier this month, raiders fled with a safe containing hundreds of pounds-worth of takings from the Salvation Army store in Lymington Road.

PCSO Mark Lane said: “There have been several burglaries in the area, a large proportion of which were committed whilst the householders were away visiting friends and families over the Christmas period.

“Entry was gained to properties by forcing doors and windows so this is really a reminder to residents not to be complacent.

“We want people to be mindful of what’s happened recently so they can take steps to prevent it.”

PC Alan Leeland added: “Incidents like these are a sign of the times and also the season we are in.

“People have been away with family so houses have been empty and businesses have perhaps looked a little quieter than normal.”

He added: “It’s not just houses but business premises have also been targeted, suffering theft and vandalism.

“We would reassure residents not to be alarmed by the recent events but to be mindful of simple measures which could make a big difference.”

Patrols have been increased in the affected areas and the team is urging all residents to remain vigilant and to report suspicious activity on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

The officers will be holding a crime prevention roadshow on Thursday, January 31, in Wortley Road car park behind the Co-op from 10am-noon.

They can be contacted on 07825 521818.