Cambridgeshire Police's anti-burglary balloons to send message
Balloons are being pushed through open windows and left inside unlocked homes by police warning people about burglaries over Christmas.
Officers are targeting villages in south Cambridgeshire and leaving the balloons, branded with their crest, and a message for the homeowners.
A spokesman said: "If we can fit a balloon through a window there may be enough space for a burglar."
There have been 160 burglaries from homes in the area since September.
Cambridgeshire Police said they had also received reports of 139 thefts from vehicles and 119 shed burglaries in the south of the county in the past three months.
As well as the balloons - which are attached to a postcard containing crime prevention tips and a security survey - officers are also putting cards inside unlocked cars.
Insp James Sutherland said: "Already, 70 cars were found to have been left unlocked in one village, one containing a family's Christmas presents.
"This is not about traditional crime prevention. We are trying to make communities safer and raise awareness about the risks.
"As well as shed stickers, balloons and postcards, we'll also be selling shed alarms and completing security surveys to send a strong, clear message to burglars - 'get stuffed'."