ISLANDERS have been warned to make outdoor key safes as secure as possible following a spate of burglaries.

Police on Canvey have been called to four burglaries in the past six weeks in which thieves broke into key safes outside houses in a bid to carry out raids.

A house in Central Avenue was targeted after burglars managed to prise open the safe and unlock the front door.

Belongings were stolen from the house two weeks ago while a grandmother was asleep upstairs.

On Tuesday, burglars struck again at a home in First Avenue, when they managed to break open a key safe close to the front door.

As the burglars tried to get into the house, the homeowner confronted them.

They fled without managing to steal anything.

Sgt Mark McQuade, from the Castle Point community policing team, urged residents to be careful.

He believes the burglaries are all linked.

He said: “We have seen a spate of burglaries where people have tampered with the small key safes located on the outside of the door - it is usually something that elderly people use.

“They put their own front door key inside and visitors can tap in a code to get the key out.

“It is clear from the amount of burglaries we have had recently and the similarities with the lock safes, that someone is out there looking for them to take them off the wall and break into them while in situ.”

Mr McQuade said he is offering advice to businesses who sell the safes, as well as to homeowners who become victims of burglaries.

He said: “Our crime prevention officer is doing a lot of work around letting members of the community know about this by speaking to neighbourhood watch co-ordinators and sending out messages through our community messaging app.

“I think the main piece of advice is you have got to make sure that the key safe is a decent one and that it’s working properly.

“When we are doing our patrols and we are coming across these outdoor safes we are giving out prevention advice to try and stop this from happening any more.

“We are also contacting shops that deal in these lock safes to let them know that this is happening.”

To deter burglars, Mr McQuade asked people to ensure key safes are good quality and made of strong material.

Key safes should be securely fixed to the wall and not loose in any way..

Residents should also ensure that the safe is not easily on display from the roadside, tucking it out of the way and out of general view from passers-by.

Anyone with information about a burglary on Canvey can call Essex Police on 101.