ANDOVER police are warning householders to lock up their properties even when they are at home during the dark winter evenings.

A housewife living in Adelaide Road was startled to find two teenage youths in her kitchen just after 7pm.

She had gone to the rear of the property, leaving her husband watching television in a front room.

The youths, aged between 14 and 16 and dressed in dark clothing, ran out of the back door when she shouted.

A police spokesman said: She saw two figures in the kitchen as she entered and immediately shouted at them and they ran out of the door.

The youths entered the house through an insecure rear door.

They stole a handbag containing £45 in cash. We would warn people in their homes in the evenings, watching television or relaxing, that they should take care to make sure the house is secure otherwise they could find an entry is made and property stolen.

People do not expect their houses to be entered while they are at home but that is just when they are at risk.

There are plenty of intruders who will find the dark evenings an ideal time to make an entry and steal property.

A young mother had an unpleasant surprise when she awoke in the middle of the night to find a teenage boy in the bedroom of her River Way home at 2.10am on Tuesday.

The womans husband was watching television downstairs and her son was asleep in another room when the woman was disturbed by somebody coming into the bedroom, said Det Sgt Paul Taylor.

They had a brief conversation before the teenager left via the first floor window.

He probably then made his escape using the porch roof. Nothing was stolen.

The youngster, thought to be 14 or 15 years old, was wearing a black hat, a hooded sports jumper with pockets, dark baggy trousers and trainers.

These latest warnings follow similar advice from Andover police after a spate of burglaries in the summer.

Then householders were in their gardens, leaving doors and windows open in the hot weather.

Property, particularly handbags containing cash and credit cards, disappeared.