Page last updated at 10:50 GMT, Monday, 26 October 2009

Many burglars 'solely after ID'

Credit card exchange
Credit cards and ID are hot property on the black market

One in seven burglaries last year was committed solely to steal personal documents, a survey has suggested.

The survey of 6,000 adults by insurance firm LV found some 15% of victims were targeted specifically for documents containing their personal details.

Credit cards, passports and other forms of identity are prized items on the black market and easy for burglars to sell on, LV said.

It calculates identity burglary cost the UK an estimated £150m in 2008.

Of all burglaries in Britain, LV says, 74% result in the theft of some personal and financial documents such as driving licences and bank details.

And it warns that identity burglary is likely to increase in coming years as ID fraud grows.

Part of securing your home graphic

Burglars can sell documents with personal details for £15 an item, while bundles of documents with the same identity can fetch 10 times that, LV says.

John O'Roarke, the company's managing director, said: "Homeowners should ensure they store personal documents securely and if possible separately to minimise the risk of ID theft."

In 2008, home burglaries in England and Wales started to rise for the first time in seven years. Burglaries of commercial premises also went up.

Over the past 30 years, burglary rates have peaked at times of economic hardship, like the mid-1980s and the early 1990s.

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