Spring could feel like Christmas for burglars as we emerge from lockdown says charity Crimestoppers

Monday 22 March 2021

After a year of being stuck at home the nation is making plans to go out again when lockdown eases. But Crimestoppers has warned that if we’re not careful, spring could feel like Christmas for burglars, due to the amount of new expensive items we have bought to get us through the pandemic.

New research commissioned by John Lewis Home Insurance among 2,000 UK adults has found that since the pandemic broke out  71% of us have purchased new items such as; gym equipment, tablets and TVs to turn our homes into offices, schools, gyms and our sole place to relax and entertain. The average amount spent buying these new items totals £4338.00, with eight per cent of people spending between £5,000 and £30,000. 

The vast majority of those surveyed  (86%) said that they are already planning to go out if lockdown measures are eased in April.  Meeting friends outside and eating out are the things we most want to do; and nearly one third (29%) are planning to go away. 

Despite acquiring more valuable items, well over half of those surveyed (59%) said they didn’t adjust their home insurance policy.  The survey also found that nearly one fifth (18%) of households decided not to renew their home insurance over the past year, with reasons including; there was always someone at home (8%), they forgot to renew (10%) and they didn’t think they had to (10%). 

Ali Berryman, Head of Financial Services at John Lewis said; “Over the last twelve months, out of necessity we’ve turned our homes into offices, gyms and places to entertain ourselves - and we’ve spent lots of money making this happen.  

“The vast majority of us are already making plans to leave our homes once lockdown restrictions are lifted and we want people to do that knowing that their new possessions are protected.  It’s incredibly common for us to forget to add new valuable items to our home insurance, with well over half of those surveyed saying they didn’t adjust their policy after making large purchases.  This is why we’ve launched a more transparent home insurance which gives customers the flexibility to choose the cover that meets their needs.  With better choice, and with no admin fees when a change is made, customers can ensure that as their lives change, so too can the protection they have on their home and belongings.”

Ten most popular items bought during the pandemic that are commonly stolen:

New Item

% UK adults who have bought 



Garden Furniture








Computer Tablet


Smartwatch or Fitness Tracker


Outdoor bicycle


Gym equipment e.g. exercise bike, treadmill


Computer screen


Mick Duthie, Director of Operations at the charity Crimestoppers, said: “Having your home burgled can be not only a costly experience but also emotionally traumatic. As we come out of lockdown, it’s crucial that we all ensure our homes are as secure as possible. This spring could feel like the Christmas burglars didn’t have last year, because we stayed at home.

“We also ask that anyone who knows someone who is involved in burglary to contact our charity 100% anonymously online via Crimestoppers-uk.org or by calling 0800 555 111 and tell us what you know. Together, we can help keep our homes and communities safe from crime.”

Crimestoppers tips to keep your home safe: 

Criminals watch out for houses they think are empty and unprotected.  You can make their lives harder by doing the following: 

  • Fitting burglar alarms with flashing lights and sounders at the front and back of your property.
  • Switch lights or a radio on when you go out. You can buy timer devices to do this automatically.
  • Even if you’re only going out for a few minutes, check that all doors and windows are properly closed and locked.
  • Make sure side and back gates are secure.
  • Don’t leave garden tools outside, keep ladders out of sight  and ensure sheds, garages and outbuildings are locked.
  • Fit tamper-proof automatic outside security lights.
  • Even when you’re at home, try not to leave accessible windows open at night.
  • If you’re going away on holiday, ask a neighbour to keep an eye on your home, take in any deliveries and consider parking on your drive.
  • Don’t let yourself become a victim of a distraction burglary, where more than one person calls at your door, trying to dupe you into letting one caller in to burgle you whilst you are distracted by another one.

More information on John Lewis Home Insurance can be found at: www.johnlewisfinance.com/home-insurance


About the John Lewis Partnership

The John Lewis Partnership owns and operates two of Britain's best-loved retail brands - John Lewis and Waitrose. Started as a radical idea nearly a century ago, the Partnership is the largest employee-owned business in the UK and amongst the largest in the world, with over 78,000 employees who are all Partners in the business. For all intents and purposes, the Partnership is a social enterprise; the profits made are reinvested into the business - for customers and Partners. John Lewis operates 42 shops plus one outlet across the UK as well as johnlewis.com. Waitrose has 331 shops in England, Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands, including  59 convenience branches, and another 27 shops at Welcome Break locations. The retailer's omnichannel business includes the online grocery service, Waitrose.com, as well as specialist online shops including waitrosecellar.com for wine and waitroseflorist.com for plants and flowers.

John Lewis Finance

John Lewis Finance offers customers first-class financial products and services which they can have confidence in, delivered with the expertise and customer service that John Lewis is known for. Its products include home, pet, car, foreign currency, and its Partnership Card - which enables customers to earn points every time they spend. For details of all the products and services go to www.johnlewisfinance.com.

About Crimestoppers 

  • Crimestoppers is an independent charity helping communities to ‘Speak up. Stay safe.’
  • Our 0800 555 111 telephone number and website crimestoppers-uk.org gives people the power to speak up and pass on information about crime 100% anonymously. In over 32 years, we have always kept this promise.
  • Alongside our national campaigns, we have hundreds of volunteers across the UK who help us promote our services to those that need to hear about them.
  • Every region of the UK has a Crimestoppers team responsible for raising awareness of our charity and running local campaigns about issues that affect their area.
  • Around 10 people are arrested and charged every day as a result of information given to Crimestoppers.
  • Since Crimestoppers began in 1988, it has received over 2.2 million actionable calls, resulting in more than 151,000 arrests and charges, over £139 million worth of stolen goods have been recovered and over £367 million worth of illegal drugs have been seized.
  • In 2005, Crimestoppers launched the UK's Most Wanted on its website which allows the public to view images of criminals and pass on vital information about their whereabouts. It has been highly successful, with over 4,300 arrests to date.


John Lewis & Partners

Mandy Pursey

Partner & Communications Manager, Brand CSR
Tel: 07889 230522
Email: mandy.pursey@johnlewis.co.uk