IT was just a normal, average day day for one woman — until she returned home and walked into the house .

For what she found left her shocked and scared.

Thieves had got into the back garden and smashed in the patio doors , taking irreplaceable jewellery but, even worse, leaving the woman feeling violated and very frightened.

Burglary is a crime that leaves many victims feeling vulnerable and unsafe in their own homes .

But while police work hard to catch the burglars, it is also important to reassure victims and help them feel more secure.

Reducing burglary is one of the top priorities for the police in the Bolon borough.

Officers have been using a new tactic — called cocooning — to try to drive home the message about people making sure their houses are secure.

After someone has been burgled, Police Community Support Officers visit the victim as well as homes each side, opposite and behind within 48 hours to make them aware there has been a break-in.

They offer advice and give people packs containing a property marking kit. Householders can use the invisible pen to mark televisions and mobile phones with the house number and postcode.

They are also given stickers for their windows to let would-be burglars know the items have been marked.

Officers carry UV pens so they can check stolen items and, hopefully, return them to their rightful owners if a postcode is found.

The pack also lets people know about free home security checks, which are carried out by Bolton Council and can include free locks and security chains.

Police say making sure they speak to neighbours, rather than simply posting a pack through the door, has seen more people take the advice on board and start or join Home Watch schemes.

In Farnworth, 15 new Home Watch schemes have been set up since Insp Kevin Lister launched the project when he joined the Bolton South team in June.

He said: “Burglars do not operate far from their homes.

“If they have found somewhere that is successful they will return to the area, which is why we are raising awareness, encouraging people to mark their property and get involved with Home Watch schemes.”

And residents have been impressed with the police response.

A house in Bolton Road, Farnworth, was targeted at 2pm on Monday.

The thieves smashed a back patio door using a paving slab from the garden, ransacked a bedroom and stole the homeowner’s wedding jewellery which, obviously, carried great sentimental value.

They were not inside long as the burglar alarm sounded and police were at the scene within minutes.

The resident, who asked not to be named, said: “I am very scared they could come back. They came in the afternoon but what if it was at night when the kids are here and we are asleep upstairs?

“I don’t know what would have happened if I had been here. They took all my jewellery, including my wedding jewellery, and also lots of cheap jewellery from Primark.

“It is good that the police are raising awareness about what happened and that they are going to start a Home Watch scheme.”

An elderly neighbour added: “It is good the police are raising awareness about burglaries.

“It is helpful to have the pack explained to you. I have had a pack through the door before but I hadn’t done anything with it, but now I will.”

A resident in St James Street, also Farnworth, was enjoying the weather at the weekend but while she was in the garden, a thief opened the front door and took her car keys, and later came back for the car.

She said: “My boyfriend said the car had gone and I thought he was playing a trick on me. I have not slept since and now I feel vulnerable.

“I am forever at the window and I jumping up every time I hear a car. The police have been brilliant. They were here quickly and have kept in regular contact.”