October 18, 2009 19:00 ET

'Strictly Come Chancing'-Saturday Night 'Sneak-In' Thieves on the Rise Warns Swinton Insurance

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Oct. 18, 2009) - Avid fans of Saturday night 'must see TV' are being warned to guard against potential 'sneak-in' burglaries.

Swinton has seen a 12% rise in sneak-in burglaries committed on Saturday evenings during September 2009 compared to the same time in 2000 - one year before the debut of ITV's Pop Idol.

Swinton, the UK's leading high street home insurance retailer, believes that with the onset of winter evenings and the mass, cross generation appeal of 'event' TV, such as Strictly Come Dancing and The X Factor, means many households will be increasingly at risk to sneak-in thieves on darker Saturday evenings.

Sneak-in thefts are those where entry has been gained through an open window or unlocked door, many occurring while the property is still occupied. Once inside thieves only need a few minutes to grab small items like handbags, wallets, mp3 players, phones, digital cameras or even the keys to the car on the drive.

Swinton's Insurance Development Manager Steve Chelton explains:

"Despite regular crime prevention campaigns encouraging homeowners to always lock doors and windows, even while they are on the premises, traditionally around 40% of domestic burglaries are found to be 'sneak-in' crimes. In many cases these incidents occur when people are watching television in one part of the house while a thief enters via another.

"Strictly Come Dancing and The X Factor each pulling in excess of ten million viewers, so opportunist thieves know exactly when a large proportion of people will be at home and glued to the set. They can even set their watches for when the advert breaks are due and can be in and out in pretty quickly."

"Being music based and with loud audience participation throughout, the likelihood of anyone hearing an intruder entering their property whilst watching these programmes is reduced. And because these shows are often enjoyed by the entire family in one communal room, the chance of a burglar being disturbed is minimal.

"All of these elements, combined with the fact that it's dark outside when these programmes are broadcast, add up to many households being extremely vulnerable to sneak-in burglars if they've left the backdoor unlocked. Our claims data also suggests that the number of such incidents occurring during Saturday night prime-time have increased since the inception of reality-based music talent shows."

Swinton recommends everyone follows the advice of crime prevention officers and ensure all entry points to the home are secure before settling down to an evening in front of the telly.

With regards to house insurance implications, Swinton points out that you will generally be covered for 'sneak-in' thefts if you are in the property when the crime occurs. However if you leave your property at any time, having failed to secure it adequately, you are unlikely to be covered in the event of a burglary.

Notes to Editors

About Swinton

  • With 580 branches nationwide Swinton is the UK's largest high street insurance retailer
  • Unlike many other companies in the financial services industry, Swinton is committed to keeping its branches open for business, and part of the community
  • Swinton provides a one-stop-shop for the insurance and related needs of its clients, offering home, car, caravan, business, holiday, motorbike and even classic car insurance
  • With a dedicated team of advisors on hand at every branch to search a panel of insurers to offer quality cover at competitive rates

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