Police are clamping down on thugs and thieves who should be ringing in the New Year behind bars.

Officers for Greater Manchester Police are taking part in Operation Advent and say they aim to will become a hostile environment for criminals.

Residents will be asked to help do their bit by keeping their valuables safe and their homes secure.

Assistant Chief Constable Terry Sweeney said: “This operation is a pre-emptive strike against offenders who may assume that we will sit back over Christmas and allow them on their merry way. The fact is that we plan to ruin their festivities and keep them locked up for Christmas lunch.

“Today is the start of two weeks of action, where criminals will be woken by the dawn chorus of doors cracking to the chime of wham rams across Greater Manchester. All our officers will be picking up the gauntlet with robbery and burglary operations taking place in every town.

“Being a victim of crime is no fun at any time of year but seems particularly distressing at Christmas. One in three burglaries happen because of an open window or door that has made life easy for a criminal to steal property. While we work round the clock to lock these criminals up I ask that everyone plays their part to avoid becoming a victim by keeping their homes and valuables safe, keeping doors and windows locked, alarms and lights on and presents out of view.”

Officers from the tactical aid unit, traffic, ANPR officers, mounted police, dog handlers and special constables will be out supporting each of the divisions on seeking out their most wanted.

An ad-van will be out across Manchester, Bolton and Salford to also name and shame offenders who have no choice but to turn themselves in.

Neighbourhood teams will be linking up with local supermarkets, while people get their ‘big shops’ in before Christmas, to remind families to stay security conscious and look out for one another throughout the holiday period.

Christmas themed ‘Help us to bang up burglars’ material will be handed out to shoppers who will be directed to GMP’s online Christmas advent calendar (www.gmp.police.uk/advent) where they can view 24 gems of crime prevention and safety advice.

ACC Sweeney added: “It’s also important for neighbours to look out for one another and their properties, check on older or vulnerable residents and report it if you have any concerns to your local neighbourhood team or council. From all at GMP we hope you have a safe Christmas and a very Happy New Year.”

Help to bang up burglars by reporting anything suspicious to police on 999 or the non-emergency number 101. If you have any information that you would like to report anonymously you can do so by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.