Police are warning Canterbury property owners of a spate of burglaries targeting houses under construction.
Detective sergeant Damon Wells said appliances and furnishings were being targeted by thieves and the items were being traded, sold online or transferred "in the criminal fraternity".
He warned people that buying appliances and household fittings at low prices could be "too good to be true".
"These items may be stolen, otherwise they would be sold in a more traditional forum, and knowing something is stolen, or purchasing it may constitute an offence of receiving stolen property," Wells said.
"We want to make it as difficult as possible for criminals to steal items in the first place, and secondly make it difficult to sell these items by marking them with the builder/building companies details."
For those people who may be in the process of building a home police recommend the following:
• Ensure that master locks and keys and codes for lock boxes are changed on a regular basis so that former contractors and employees no longer have access to them.
• Ensure that waste bins and skips are not obscuring house under construction.
• Consider early placement of security lighting to deter offenders. Power is often on site early in the build process.
• Consider CCTV systems that can be installed and moved from house to house as the construction commences and completes.
• Ensure deliveries of items for the house are only made just prior to installation to ensure that valuable items are not sitting around. Do not organise deliveries for a Friday afternoon when they are likely to be sitting in an empty house over the weekend.
• Ensure adequate security fencing.
• Consider permanently marking the rear of appliances and valuable items so they are more recognisable if stolen, noting the serial numbers and make of items.
Anyone who see suspicious activity at building sites in their community is asked to contact their local police station.
Alternatively, information can be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.