You'll feel safer with four alarms, advises ex-con Chris Buckland
"Most burglars use the back way, so fit metal security grills to back windows and doors. The grill for our window cost pounds 45, and the door, pounds 50. Get an alarm system, and put the outside security box on the front of the house where everybody can see it. If you put it round the back, a burglar can easily spray shaving foam inside it to stop it ringing. I put ours in myself. It was pounds 40 from Argos. A secondary alarm system inside is a back-up. We've got three - in the front room, the kitchen and on the landing. They were about pounds 20 each and are battery-activated with a key fob, like a car alarm. I put those on at night and keep the key fobs by my bed. The same system can be used on a garden shed, garage or caravan. Make sure a family member or friend from Neighbourhood Watch checks on your house, and opens and closes the curtains to make it look like somebody's there. You can also get timers for your plug sockets so you can set the radio or lamps to turn on and off. Guard dogs don't make any difference: a professional burglar will carry drugged meat for a dog. It's very nasty - I never did that. The best window frames to have are metal. I used to go for weak windows - old-fashioned wooden frames are easy. I spent a total of six years in prison. My last spell was three weeks last year for stealing a karaoke machine. The wife said to me: `You either stop or you give up us.' I said: `I'll stop' "

Chris Buckland is a convicted thief turned Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator in Mansfield