TWO thousand cardboard padlocks have been hung on the doors of Winton houses, reminding students and residents to keep their valuables safe.

The Lock It or Lose It campaign was launched in Winton to increase awareness of potential burglaries and remind people to take basic security measures.

The scheme is a joint initative between the students’ unions at Bournemouth University and the Arts University Bournemouth and is being backed by United Taxis, who will send text messages to students who order taxis reminding them to keep their houses secure. Murray Simpson, president of the students’ union at Bournemouth University, said: “The prime time for burglaries is between January and March, that’s when students come back with all their Christmas presents.

“There are also more burglaries happening during the day time. When I was a student we always used to leave our front door unlocked, we just assumed it would be safe.

“But it only takes a few minutes for a burglary to happen and it’s so easy to keep valuables out of sight. We hope this campaign is delivering that simple message in a unique way.”

And PC Andy Scarratt, of the University police team, said: “We try every year to remind the students about personal safety and looking after their property. It’s one of those things – student houses do get targeted.

“There may be one laptop in an ordinary family home but five or six in a student house. Crime prevention isn’t always top of their priority, so this is a good way of reminding them to look after their things.”

The scheme follows the successful launch of the student community warden scheme, which is now being expanded.

Coralie Wood, part-time community officer for the students’ union at Bournemouth University, said: “We’ve had a really good response with residents engaging with students and students starting to appreciate and become more of the community.”