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Burglars 'use social network sites'

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Burglars have admitted that status updates on social network sites can be useful in helping them break into homes.

A poll of convicted criminals found that they were more likely to target a property when they saw online that the homeowner would be away.

The technology has become one of the main mistakes which helps burglars - along with leaving windows open, displaying valuables in full view, hiding keys near a doorway and leaving parcels outside.

The findings offer a stark warning to homeowners that by broadcasting their every move on social networking sites they could be leaving themselves vulnerable to a break-in and a potentially costly claim on their home insurance policy.

Friedland's UK Home Security Report also found that a fifth of burglars track the everyday movements of their victims before committing a burglary.

It takes an average of just two minutes to break into a house with no visible security, the poll showed, while a typical home burglary takes just 10.2 minutes to commit.

Just 25% of burglars said they would be put off by guard dogs, while fewer than one in 10 said noisy neighbours would be a deterrent.

© Press Association 2011