A SECURITY expert has revealed one common mistake made by Brits when it's cold.
Locksmith Elizabeth Johns said drivers often leave their keys in the car to heat it up before they get in to drive away.
While it may seem like "common sense", Elizabeth said countless motors are nicked by chancer thieves who take advantage.
The expert urged Brits not to "gift wrap" their cars for crooks as temperatures plunge to a bone-chilling -2C later this week.
Elizabeth, company director at locksmith L&E Ltd, told the Sun: "It does seem like common sense, but I'm guilty of it – I'm sure we all are.
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"In the colder weather we will leave cars running to heat them up. And you wouldn't believe the amount of cars that get stolen that way.
"You think right, the car's on my driveway, it's secure, it's only going to be five minutes.
"If a thief walks past by chance, they can see the car is running, they can see the hot steam coming out the back of cars, they can see no one is in that car.
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"It's such an easy, quick theft. You are literally gift wrapping a car for them."
Elizabeth also said that many Brits may presume that a drop in temperature – and more time spent indoors – means burglars will avoid breaking in.
But that assumption couldn't be further from the truth – and burglars are out on the prowl in all weather.
A lesser-known common mistake made by Brits in the colder months involves taking out the rubbish.
When it's cold, homeowners don't want to stand outside ripping up large cardboard boxes before putting them in the bin.
Instead, these empty boxes – which often have branding for high-cost items such as TVs or games consoles – are left leaning against the bin.
This shows burglars what expensive and desirable items can be found inside the house – making your property a target, Elizabeth explained.
She added: "In the summer, it's very easy to go out to your bin and put boxes in.
"But in the colder weather, a lot of people don't want to go out all the way to the bins to rip boxes up to put them in the bin.
"So they will leave boxes out that have markers on them of high-value items.
"Any high-value items that come in big cardboard boxes can be quite a chore to rip up and put in the bin in the colder weather.
"But it's vital to make sure that these types of things are hidden [from burglars].
"Because it means burglars know: these are the high-value items that are in this home and this is what we're going to target."
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Elizabeth previously shared three simple tips to follow if you’ve lost your car keys.
She also revealed five reasons why burglars will target your home and how to stop them.
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