Hope for the best; prepare for the worst

So you’ve heeded all the advice to secure your home and your property.

You have window locks, high-security doors, unobscured entrances, lighting, an alarm system, valuables stored out of sight, tools and equipment stored in locked sheds and garages.

Sadly, even the most security-aware can still become victims of theft, only to discover the aftermath can be as frustrating and painful as the event itself. The Police and insurers will ask for details of any missing property, and it is here that many find themselves unprepared, complicating claims and prolonging the stress and inconvenience.

Police recover an enormous amount of stolen property each year, but the majority is impossible to repatriate because there is no way to trace the owner. The result is that valuable, treasured possessions end up going to auction or even being destroyed.

To avoid these pitfalls, here are some simple actions you can take:

Make a habit of recording your purchases: photograph items, unique marks and any serial numbers, including the original purchase receipts. Send the pictures to a friend or family member so you have more than one copy or record them securely on the Immobilise National Property Register. Any police report or insurance claim will be more effective and faster to complete when you have this information to hand.

Mark items: add your postcode, your phone number or some other number meaningful to you. Various marking and labelling methods are available, but any manner of mark will help – it doesn’t have to cost anything.

Register items: Consider registering your items on a police-connected database. Visit your local constabulary website for recommendations in the loss and theft section. Such registration not only helps Police return your property but may also prevent criminals from easily selling it.

Les Gray is from Recipero Ltd, providing over 20 years of service connecting the public with police, insurers and traders. Property registration and transaction verification help to prevent over £35m worth of stolen property from being traded in the UK each month and provides vital evidence to help prosecute thieves.