Burglaries in Outwood and Lingfield were among a spate of break-ins which have sparked a home security warning to rural residents.

Surrey Police is urging homeowners to be vigilant and to secure their properties following the raids on homes in the Tandridge district.

The Force said that in the last two weeks there has been a rise in offences in which homes in more secluded rural locations have been targeted, with jewellery, electrical items and two expensive racing bikes being stolen.

A Surrey Police spokesman said the burglaries have happened on weekdays between 7am and 6.30pm, when residents may well have been away from home at work, or on their commute to and from work. He said methods being used have been to force front doors, smash a side window or break through glass at the rear of properties.

House-to-house enquiries have been taking place around the areas affected to reassure residents and to issue advice to help prevent others becoming a victim of crime. The spokesman said increased patrols have led to the arrest of three people, after they were seen in the vicinity of a recent break-in.

Tandridge Safer Neighbourhood Team Inspector Angie Austin, said: "Homeowners should make sure they are fully aware of the security measures they already have in place, and if they are not up to scratch, then ensure you get the work done.”

She said: "Locked doors and windows will often deter a burglar who will not want to break glass as it attracts unwanted attention, so keep openings secured with good locks and deadlocks.

"Having security lighting and burglar alarms will also do no harm, but remember to use them.

"Investing a matter of minutes in upgrading your security could be the difference between ending up in a distressing situation when you return to find your home burgled.”

She continued: "It is also important for communities to stay alert for any suspicious activity, especially if you are aware your neighbours may be away. “A call from a member of the public was instrumental in the recent arrests, so I cannot stress the importance of making that call.

"Criminals will use a number of techniques to test the water, including cold calling your doorstep to check your security measures under the pretence of seeing if a named person is at home, or making bogus phone calls to see who is at home at different times of the day.”

The properties burgled since Monday, May 12, were in Lingfield Lane, Lingfield, in Outwood Lane, Outwood, The Ridge and Southview Road in Woldingham, and Merle Common Road in Oxted.

Two men were seen behaving suspiciously prior to the Woldingham offences, and police have said they would like to speak to them.

The first was described as a white male of slender build, 6ft tall with short curly brown hair and a southern accent. He was wearing dark clothes, including possibly a navy jersey and trousers.

The second man was black, aged in his early 20s, and was wearing a navy lightweight anorak and jeans.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Surrey Police by calling 101, or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

A Surrey Police spokesman said two men, aged 30 and 31, and a 50-year-old woman, all from Oxted, have been arrested on suspicion of burglary.

The woman and the 30-year-old man have also been arrested on suspicion of cultivating a class B drug.

The two men have been released on bail until June 29, and the woman until June 23.