Being burgled is a homeowner’s worst nightmare. But sometimes we do not help ourselves, a survey of ex-cons has found. Insurance firm More Than quizzed 50 former thieves about their tricks of the trade. One reformed burglar tells how thieves even use Twitter and Facebook to plan break-ins.

In the old days, burglars would pay a dodgy milkman or paper boy for information about when a homeowner would be out or on holiday – but technology has moved on since then.

Now canny burglars are using Facebook and Twitter to size up homes to steal from.

I’ve seen lots of people who post a status update about being excited that there’re going away on holiday. But if you have 900 Facebook friends, how many do you really know?

You might recognise their name from school but do you also know all their friends who could also see your updates? People put all kinds of information on Facebook including their address and mobile number. A burglar just has to call your mobile and if there’s an international ringtone they know your away. These days everyone is Twitter-mad, I use it myself. But putting information that anyone can see on the Internet leaves you vulnerable to a break in. The More Than survey showed that burglars will look anywhere for valuables. Bedroom drawers are the top choice with 34 per cent, while 12 per cent would look in a wardrobe and 4 per cent would look in a fridge.

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