Most of us have something we would be particularly reluctant to lose, perhaps a piece of special jewellery or hard-to-replace items such as house deeds or policy documents.

So, where should you keep them? Important papers can be filed somewhere safe, perhaps in a locked drawer, or cabinet. A mortgage lender may retain deeds if required and solicitors could also store important documents as a service.

But, while no one wants to think about it, a burglar could find rich pickings if they break into your home. How many of us are guilty of keeping a jewellery box openly on display in a bedroom? And when it comes to expensive items like laptops and iPads, how many of us leave these in open view when we leave the house?

According to the Guardian, gold prices are at a record high - and thieves obviously favour items which are both portable and easy to find. A burglar will want to make a quick visit and will rifle through drawers and under the mattress, but no one should make it easy for them. Always make sure you put valuable items like laptops safely away in a locked cupboard, or at the very least stored in a less obvious place which isn't visible from outside. Close your curtains or blinds whilst you're out to stop passers by from seeing exactly what you have on offer.

Another option is a safe. Whether it's family heirlooms, important documents or emergency money this could be a good way to make sure your items are not only protected from burglars but also events such as flooding or a house fire (depending on the type of deposit box you buy). For extra safety, consider having your safe wall or floor mounted so that it can be hidden, rather than free standing. A safe can also set off an alarm if there are attempts to gain access forcibly.

Meanwhile, if you have items which you are still nervous about keeping at home, you might want to consider having an external safety deposit box - these are available at some high street banks. If it's a favourite piece of jewellery though, the limited access could be highly inconvenient. It's important to note that there will be a charge involved, generally paid annually or when you want access your items.

You might also want to consider registering items on the national police database at www.registermythings.co.uk - this helps the police return stolen goods to their owners.

When outside, be aware of anything that an opportunist thief might want to steal. Try to keep items out of sight - be mindful of busy areas where pickpockets might operate and try to avoid anywhere potentially unsafe. Street robbery can be a traumatic experience; phones, iPads and jewellery are all targets - and for the criminals, who can swiftly sell them on, are almost the equivalent of cash.

At home, consider timer switches for your interior and exterior lights if you are out in the evening. You could ask neighbours to bring in rubbish and recycling bins if you are away - and perhaps also making sure your lawn stays mown.

Home insurance can provide invaluable protection in the event of a burglary, although you should always make sure your contents insurance provider is fully aware of what you own and the values. You should also make sure that your policy does provide cover for your items outside the home. But a replacement or financial recompense for possessions with sentimental value may be cold comfort. Sensible precautions to keep possessions safe can potentially save a lot of heartache.

Some information contained within this article may have changed since it was first published. HomesOverseas strongly advises you to seek current legal and financial advise from a qualified professional.

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