Summer holiday season is now in full swing with thousands of families leaving the country for their long-awaited break in the sun, but many could be leaving themselves vulnerable to the threat posed by burglars. Allison Thompson, managing director at property specialist Leaders, says it is important to take steps to reduce the likelihood of thieves targeting your home while you are away.

“Nobody likes to think about the possibility that their property could be broken into while they are away, putting valuable possessions and treasured belongings at risk. The good news is that there is plenty you can do prior to your holiday to put off burglars,” she explains.

Allison has put together the following five top tips for those who are preparing to enjoy a break this summer and would like to deter potential thieves.

1) Avoid publicising your holiday on Facebook

The quickest way to alert burglars to your impending departure is to announce on Facebook or other social media platforms that you are going away. It is important to remember your posts can be seen by more people than just your friends and you can never be sure of the intentions of people you do not know. The only way to be safe is to avoid publicising your trip online until you have returned home.

2) Make use of timer gadgets

There is a good range of timer lamps, security lights and radios that can be set to activate at certain points throughout the day and night, helping to give the impression that somebody is at home. Investing in these before you depart can go some way towards encouraging burglars to leave your home alone.

3) Offer the use of your driveway

If you are taking your car to the airport or using it to travel within the UK, why not ask a friend or relative to use your driveway while you are away? It will give the impression that your house is still being lived in.

4) Cancel milk, newspaper and online shopping deliveries

One of the clearest signs you are on holiday is bottles of milk piled up on your doorstep or a stack of newspapers in the letterbox. So make sure you cancel any regular deliveries - and avoid buying anything online for home delivery - before you go away.

5) Secure outdoor valuables

Many people leave expensive items in their gardens or in unsecured sheds or garages. Thieves will not turn down the chance to swipe a bike, barbecue or lawnmower if it is on show, so make sure these items are adequately secured.

Allison says: “Summer is a prime time for opportunistic burglars to strike, so whether you own your home or are renting, if you go away at this time of year it is wise to think about how to secure your property. Putting yourself in the mind of a burglar and taking a few simple steps can help you to eliminate the risks and encourage thieves to carry on walking past your property.

“Having up-to-date home and contents insurance is also a must for peace of mind.”