Cold-calling police are to pose as burglars to drive home their safety message.
Householders whose homes are an easy target could be woken in the middle of the night by officers trying windows and doors.
The initiative, code-named Operation Golden, is being launched in a bid to cut break-ins.
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It is being trialled by Cheshire Police, who say residents who fall foul of their checks will be roused with a lecture from officers on what they could have lost.
But there is bound to be concern that the police may scare some elderly residents as they pose as burglars.
And with the political debate raging about the rights of homeowners to defend their homes, there is the danger the police themselves may be attacked by people who fear they are genuine intruders.
Insp Gareth Woods, who is heading up the operation, admitted some people will not be happy about the early hours wake-up calls.
He said: 'If we're told to get lost then that's a risk we take. It's a difficult balance to strike.
'The bottom line is officers get a mixed reception when doing anything like this, but I say to any of my officers that if they see an insecure car or house to let the owner know, no matter what time of day or night.
'Most reasonable people will say thanks for letting them know and be grateful.'
He added: 'Obviously we will be very discreet and won't be trying every door. We will target areas where we have intelligence burglaries will be happening.'
The operation is starting in Macclesfield and will be rolled out across East Cheshire.
It has been prompted by statistics which show nearly 40 per cent of all burglaries are carried out through unlocked doors or open windows.
Police and community support officers are also distributing thousands of door-hanger cards which list security checks to be carried out before householders leave home.
Chief Insp Peter Crowcroft said: 'There are burglars who specialise in sneak-ins. They walk around streets, nipping in and out of gardens and trying doors.
'Most of them don't care if anyone is in the house. Even if the family is in the next room watching TV, the criminal will walk in, grab a bag, purse or some other item of value and be out again in seconds.
'Operation Golden is about raising the profile of security at home and keeping people safe.'
Read more: Police to pose as burglars in bid to cut break-ins | Mail Online