At the end of last year, there were 1,243 cases of domestic burglary and other household theft in the UK.
Being burgled can be a traumatic experience. Our list can help you work out what to do if your home has been burgled.
Here’s what to do after a house burglary.
1. Phone the police and report the burglary
Report the burglary at your house straight away – the sooner you report a crime, the greater chance the crime might be solved.
If the burglary has already happened, call the non-emergency line on 101 or text 18001 101. The police should give you a crime reference number. You need this if you decide to make a home insurance claim for any theft or damage.
If a burglary is in progress, call 999. Try to stay calm and the police will be with you as soon as possible.
2. Don’t touch anything!
A burglar might have left forensic evidence at the scene of the crime while burgling your house. This could be vital to catching and prosecuting them.
Scene of Crime Officers might need to look for evidence such as:
- Tool marks
- Torn fabric
- DNA evidence
For your best chance of catching the burglar or recovering your stolen goods, it's best not to disturb anything inside or outside of the property.
3. Inform your bank
If any debit cards or credit cards are missing, inform your bank or credit card company straight away.
They should put an immediate block on your cards being used and then issue replacements.
You might also need to do this if any digital storage device (computer, USB, mobile phone etc.) has been stolen that contains your financial data.
If your passport or driving licence are missing, tell the relevant authority as soon as possible.
- The relevant authority for your stolen passport is GOV.UK
- The relevant authority for stolen driving license is also GOV.UK
4. Inform your mobile phone provider
If your phone has been stolen during the burglary make sure you contact your mobile phone provider as soon as possible. Your provider can block the phone and stop anyone else from using it. If you don’t do this, you could be liable for any costs incurred by the person who stole your phone.
You can also ask for the phone's identification number (IMEI - International Mobile Equipment Identity, a unique number for identifying a device on a mobile network.), which you need to give to the police.
5. Take note of any stolen or damaged property
Go through your property room by room and take as many photos as you can of any damage and empty spaces from which property has been stolen. This help the police and your insurance company.
You should also make a comprehensive list of everything that has been damaged or stolen.
Note down as much detail as you can about them - this includes serial numbers and any identifying marks if possible. Don’t forget to list any digital media like eBooks, downloaded video games and films.
Both the police and your home insurance provider might need these details. It could help speed up any home insurance claims you make.
6. Contact your home insurance company
Assuming you have a home insurance policy, you should be able to claim for stolen or damaged items (contents insurance) or property damage (buildings insurance). A good home insurance policy could help you replace your items if they’re stolen. Your contents policy should cover your items, providing replacements or money towards a replacement.
Contact your insurer as soon as possible and let them know what’s happened. They should be able to guide you through the process and complete their claim form.
This is when you need the list of stolen/damaged property and the crime reference number.
Dig out any receipts for the stolen and damaged items as a loss adjuster might want to see them.
For more information, check out our guide on how to claim on your home insurance policy.
7. Secure your home
Doors or windows damaged during the burglary should be fixed immediately. If you have home emergency cover in place, you could use this to make your home secure again.
Also, police attending the burglary should point out any obvious weaknesses in your home security. If not, it’s worth asking them.
8. Replace your possessions
Your home insurance payout (minus any excess) usually should be one of the following:
- New for old. This is where the insurance company covers the full cost of replacing any item that’s stolen.
- Wear and tear. This is where age and condition are considered. You might not get the full value to buy a new version of a stolen item.
9. Claim victim compensation
The police should inform you if they catch the burglar.
If an arrest results in a conviction, the court could order the offender to pay victim compensation to cover loss or damage.
But you must tell the police in advance if you wish to claim for this. For more information, chat to the officer in charge of your case.
If the court sends the burglar to prison, they don’t normally order them to pay compensation.
10.Get the support you need
Having your house burgled is a worry for anyone, and the emotional toil left after a burglary shouldn’t be underestimated. But help is at hand.
Victim Support offers free counselling, help and advice to victims of crime. Here’s where you can reach them:
- England and Wales - Victim Support or 08 08 16 89 111
- Scotland - Victim Support Scotland or 0800 160 1985
- Northern Ireland - Victim Support NI or 028 7137 0086 (Foyle Hub), 028 9024 3133 (Belfast Hub).
How can I deter burglars?
You can decrease the risk of your home being burgled by:
- Investing in smart home security
- Keep your doors and windows locked – even when you’re home
- Lock ladders away or anything else that could provide easy access to your home
- Outdoor lighting can deter burglars
- Anti-climb paint on exterior walls or fences can make it hard to climb
For more tips, check out our guide on how to protect yourself from burglary.