Police are investigating a current spate of break-ins to private houses across the region.
And officers are asking the public to take care when leaving a property unattended for any length of time, no matter how short.
The spate of break-ins has been at properties vacant either because the occupants were either away on holidays or, in some cases, had died.
Detective Inspector Colin Burnie said: “There are some clear similarities between all of these break-ins, in the type of property taken, specifically jewellery and cash, and in the fact that most of the properties were vacant.
“While a number have been opportunist break-ins, taking advantage of an open window or unlocked door, many have been as a result of forced entry, such as a window being forced or sometimes doors or patio doors being forced open. This type of break-in can cause significant damage to property, and also cause a lot of noise during its commission. Hence, the targeted properties are usually vacant, where no-one inside can be disturbed.
“We ask the public not to advertise that they are away and to get a neighbour or friend to call round at various times to check the property. Taking simple steps like closing curtains in the evenings or putting a light to indicate that the house is occupied will help prevent your home from being a potential target.
“Police Scotland also offer a totally free service of a home security survey by trained crime reduction officers. It only takes a call on 101 to arrange and could perhaps save the heartache of a break-in in the future.
“We also reiterate the plea to the public that if they see or hear something that is suspicious, or even ‘just not right’, then give us a call on 101 at the time. Calling the police at the time when you see or hear something gives us the chance to get there and investigate it in good time.
“There is nothing more frustrating to an officer conducting inquiries into a break-in to hear from a neighbour that they saw something unusual, at the scene, the night before, when a quick call to us on 101 could have prevented the crime, or at least put us onto the case much quicker.
“If it turns out to be a false alarm then at least we have had the chance to call round and check it out. Our officers are on patrol 24/7 and are only too happy to check out this type of report.”