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23 November 2011, 12:54
A teenage burglar has called his victims "stupid" and said he isn't bothered he robbed them, in a letter he was forced to write to apologise for what he did.
The letter was never sent to the family, but police in Leeds have released it to encourage people to lock up their homes properly.
Police say it highlights how criminals target insecure properties and details how the burglar entered the house through an open kitchen window.
During the year to October 2010 an average of 28% of all burglaries in Leeds occurred as a result of an insecure property.
The highest proportion of sneak-in burglaries happened in the popular student area of Headingley.
Chief Inspector Melanie Jones, from West Yorkshire Police, said: "The contents of the letter are disgusting but it does highlight the cold and dispassionate way burglars select a property to target.
"The figures across the city demonstrate that we can all make a sizeable difference to the rates of burglary by following a few simple steps.
"The most straightforward of these is to remember to lock your door when you're in the house and keep downstairs windows closed, particularly if you're out of the house or in another room.
"At this time of year, and with it being dark by late afternoon, it's really worth investing a few pounds in a timer switch to illuminate your property and give the impression someone's at home.
"If you have a house alarm, please remember to set it during the night and not just when the property is empty.
"Other simple measures include closing curtains when it's dark, removing any valuables from near windows and doors and hiding car keys.
"It's also worth remembering that a number of insurance companies will no longer settle claims when a property has been left insecure."