Tag Archives: Mid-Wales

This Week

No matter how remote you are when you need our help, we will always try our best to get to you. This week our locksmith services were needed in the mountains above Llanidloes, Powys.

Places we cover

We regularly undertake work in Newtown, Welshpool, Shrewsbury, Oswestry. We also work throughout Mid Wales and Shropshire in and around many smaller towns and villages such as Guilsfield, Abermule, Caersws, Middletown, Halfway House, Bishops Castle, Llanfair Caereinion, and all places in between.

If you need a locksmith, have any security or lock related issue or are considering installing an alarm system or CCTV, give us a call.

Feel free to browse our websites for more information and customer testimonials.

Our main website

Our new Alarms website

Make Your Home Less Vulnerable to Burglary

Burglar Image

Traditionally, burglary tends to increase as the dark evenings come upon us so as the clocks have recently gone back and as it’s coming to the end of Home Security Month, we thought it a good time to offer you advice on a few simple steps you can take to make your home less vulnerable to burglary.

Security is like many things in life, you tend to get what you are prepared to pay for and sometimes cheap security offers little or no security or may let you down in some way just when it is needed, however with a little knowledge you needn’t pay the earth and most expensive is not always best.

The vast majority of residential burglaries are opportunist, what we mean by that is that with minimal planning, a burglar will walk or drive along any random street and look at the houses. Their aim is to get in and out as quickly and quietly as possible without being seen or heard and therefore minimise the chance of being caught red handed.  Mostly they will tend to be attracted to what they consider to be the “softer” targets.

Every little thing that you add that will cause a burglar to make more noise, take more time or be more visual getting in will put them off. The chances are that if you have sufficient security they will in all likelihood burgle a house nearby that presents them less of a challenge.

  • Consider the perimeter of your property and the approach, do you shut/lock access gates.
  • Preventing unwanted visitors entering your property is what you  need to achieve, but nobody wants their home looking like a prison surrounded by high walls and barbed wire, and that is not necessary.
  • Mother nature provides an environmentally friendly, attractive and particularly effective alternative – the prickly bush, these can be extremely effective when planted around perimeter areas. Don’t go for height particularly at the front as this could hide unwanted visitors on your property from sight.  A high hedge can be great for an opportunist theft as they are confident of not being seen while they are up to no good.
  • There are many forms of driveway alert that sound in the house when someone enters your drive these start from as little as £30.
  • Consider motion sensitive outdoor lighting. During the hours of darkness lighting is not only be a comfort factor for the occupant, it is an excellent deterrent for would be opportunist burglars who clearly do not want to be seen.  Be sure to fit them out of reach so they cannot be tampered with and if they are bright halogen or cost saving LED lights, not pointing directly at neighbours houses so as to cause a nuisance.
  • Many of the more “professional” burglars don’t carry obvious tools on them for gaining entry incase they are stopped by police, instead they rely on their target victim(s) leaving them out. Ensure your garden is tidy, that ladders and tools that may be used to gain entry are locked away.
  • Ensure your sheds and outbuildings are properly secured (both windows and doors) using the best quality locks that you can afford and consider lighting around these areas and a shed alarm. (basic shed alarms start at around £20)
  • Secure any particularly valuable items within your shed or outbuilding with padlocks and chains to ground or wall anchors. If you install high quality security it would necessitate a thief having to use a noisy angle grinder rather than relatively silent bolt croppers.
  • Consider locking other smaller valuable tools items such as chainsaws etc to the same ground or wall anchors at least locking lots of items together to make them very difficult to move.
  • We have already mentioned outdoor motion detector lights and the same applies around the house itself.
  • Always read you insurance company’s minimum requirements for security (Usually they will require at least 5 lever British Standard lock or equivalent on the final exit point for example) and similar locks or additional locking bolts on all other external doors plus key operated window lacks on all windows accessible from the ground floor.  IF YOU DON’T COMPLY WITH THESE REQUIREMENTS, THEY MAY NOT PAY OUT IN THE EVENT OF BURGLARY, NO MATTER HOW THEY BROKE IN.
  • There are a vast range of locks and additional security for doors and windows on the market, your local reputable locksmith is the best point of advice on upgrading your locks and additional security.
  • Once you have good quality locks on doors and windows make sure you lock them when you are out, at night and when you are in the garden in the summer.
  • If you leave windows open at night in the summer, consider fitting security restraints to prevent them from opening wide enough to climb through.
  • You may also not be aware that if someone enters your house using a key, most insurers will not pay out. It is always sound advice to change the locks when you move house so you can account for all of the keys.

Hear are a few more tips

  • Don’t leave valuables on display through windows or advertise them with social media photographs.
  • Beware of what you put on social media when you are away from home, it could be as simple as commenting on a picture of your animals at kennels which demonstrates you are away from home.
  • Install a safe for your valuables; Everybody has items that they would be devastated if they were stolen or destroyed in a fire.
  • Install a burglar alarm; If you already have an alarm, make sure you use it, It is not an ornament, and is only fully effective if properly serviced and always used.
  • Install CCTV cameras; If you have them, ensure they are regularly serviced, that your DVR is recording and that the time is accurate and changed with British Summer Time.
  • Security Grilles or mesh can add an extra layer of protection for windows and doors;
  • Holiday tips will be subject to a separate blog.
  • Consider UV marking or DNA based marking systems to mark your property which may increase the chances of you getting it back in the worst case scenario.
  • Photograph and catalogue valuable items and keep receipts in a safe place.

REMEMBER:  There is no such thing as 100% security but, every little thing that you add that will cause a burglar to make more noise, take more time or be more visual getting in will put them off. The chances are that if you have sufficient security they will in all likelihood burgle a house nearby that presents them less of a challenge.

If you want to deter a burglar you need to think like a burglar. A burglar wants to enter your building as quickly and quietly as possible and easily remove tools and other items, place them in their vehicle and leave without being caught.

Just incase the worst does happen despite your best efforts, check that you have sufficient insurance cover for your house, sheds and outbuildings and that tools and equipment of significant value is covered.

Ensure you comply with your insurers minimum requirements, such as locking ATVs to ground anchors as otherwise your insurance may not pay out.

Make a note of the serial numbers of valuable tools and equipment, Mark them in someway either with a property marketing solution or by putting your postcode in a way that cannot be easily removed.

If you would like help or guidance regarding the security of your home then please do not hesitate to call Safe and Secure 24/7 Locksmiths and Security on 01686 640 869 or Follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ for more security tips, or subscribe to our RSS feed for regular blog updates.

Safe and Secure 24/7 Locksmiths and Security are based in between Welshpool and Newtown in Powys and we cover,  Mid- Wales and Shropshire.  We are local Locksmiths, we can give expert security advice and undertake security upgrades and Alarm and CCTV installations.  Give us a call today for a friendly chat.

We are happy to undertake a security review for you or quote for upgrades, alarm systems, safes, CCTV etc.

 

 

 

Lock Snapping Fact or Hype?

LOCK SNAPPING, is it Fact or Hype?

We are aware that lock cylinder snapping has become an issue within the areas we cover over the last couple of months when it never used to be a real issue locally so we have reviewed this blog for anyone that may be concerned.

Please be assured that we never seek to scaremonger for the sake of making sales, this blog is intended to just present the facts to enable you to make better informed decisions.

There has been lots of media attention about lock snapping over recent months, is it fact or mere hype?  I have decided to try and set out the facts and give some advice to those who may be vulnerable.

Typical euro profile cylinder
Typical euro profile cylinder

 

This in the main applies to euro profile cylinders as shown.  These are usually found on UPVC and composite doors although can be used in mortice locks on timber doors.

 

SO WHAT IS THE ISSUE AND HOW VULNERABLE ARE YOU?

The original design of these cylinders means that most of them have an inherent weakness enabling the possibility of them being quickly snapped and pulled out of your door. This enables enables a burglar to open the door in very short time.  In my experience,  the vast majority of doors locally are fitted with the most basic types of cylinder which can be vulnerable.

In order to snap a cylinder, a potential burglar has to be able to grip the cylinder end with an implement or tool, so if your cylinder is protruding beyond a few millimeters,  it could be vulnerable,  the best fitted cylinder will always be flush (or within a couple of mm) with the external handle face plate.

If your cylinder is flush or as near as damn it to the face plate that is a good start and makes life a little more difficult for the potential burglar, however you are not out of the woods because many handle sets can be easily broken of the door, exposing your cylinder and making it easy to snap.

ANTI-SNAP CYLINDERS

We stock, a range of  anti-snap cylinders.  If anyone attempts to snap these cylinders they will snap at a sacrificial  point making unauthorised entry extremely difficult for anyone other than a trained locksmith.

When you return to the property with a key however, you will be still be able to open the door easily with your key.

HOW CAN YOU MAKE YOUR DOOR MORE SECURE

As I have highlighted there are two potential areas of weakness, the cylinder itself and the handle set.  I would always advise that to get the best advice you ought to consult your local locksmith as this is a developing area with many new products coming onto the market.

A good locksmith can also offer other services that you cannot achieve elsewhere for example if you are going to upgrade your lock cylinders anyway wouldn’t it be good to have just 1 key to fit all of your locks rather than a big bunch? If you are a landlord, bed and breakfast or other establishment that temporarily give out keys, you could have patented restricted profile cylinders and padlocks that prevent the person to whom you have issued a key from getting a copy cut meaning you have much better security control.

Fell free to visit our Safe and Secure 24/7 Website for more information and see what our customers say

 

Additional Features our Alarm Systems Can Offer

There are a number of additional features to our alarm systems that we’ll highlight over a couple of blogs.

If you have taken the trouble to fit smoke detectors in your house or commercial premises, thats excellent.  I have a number throughout my house wired to the mains and all connected together, great you might think.

What happens though if they are activated when you are out or away on holiday and they are not wired to a fire alarm system? Well I guess it has to be no option but fingers crossed that a neighbour might check out your premises if they happen to be around and if they have done that, hopefully would then call emergency services if they smell smoke.

If you have one of our alarm systems however and add compatible smoke detectors the outcome in the event of activation is very different:

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Depending how the system is set up, either you will know instantly via your mobile phone that one or more has activated allowing you to take immediate action, or if you invest a small amount in professional 24/7 monitoring services, they will be instantly notified and the fire service called.

Similarly in the case of Flood, Temperature fluctuation high or low, natural gas, carbon monoxide etc.

Our alarm systems are adaptable and not just excellent intruder alarm,  they offer complete protection. There is no longer any need to leave the protection of you home, commercial premises or other building to chance.

We regularly fit alarm systems throughout, Powys. Mid-Wales, Shrewsbury and Shropshire, give us a call any time to discuss a system to meet your needs or visit our website at

 

http://www.safeandsecure247.co.uk/wireless-alarms-cctv.html

It’s Been a While

It’s been a while since our last blog but we are back!  Blogging is one of those things that you are never sure if anyone actually reads it and finds it useful or whether it just attracts all the really annoying spam.

Anyway, our blog is back in business, if anyone does read it and has a locksmith or security related topic you’d like us to blog about, then please contact us and let us know.

 

LED Security & General Lighting and Bulbs

We are now able to supply a range of LED Security and general lighting options and bulbs.

This security light replaces one of our old 500 watt halogen units and is just 50 watt that saves 10x the electricity costs.

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Last week, we replaced a number of domestic bulbs making a huge electricity saving as follows:

Kitchen:  800 watts to 64 watts
Landing:  820 watts to 56 watts
Bedrooms / Bathrooms:  210 watts to 12 watts
Garden Floodlights:  500 watts to 50 watts each

Please see the PDF below which shows the whole range, these can be supplied mail order anywhere in the UK, alternatively we offer an instalation service in Shropshire and Mid-Wales

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Questions To Ask When You Phone A Locksmith

There are a few questions you ought to consider asking when you phone a locksmith;  Why? because it could save you lots of money and some locksmiths are simply better than others.

So,  questions you should ask when you phone a locksmith whether it is an emergency lock out or for some routine work.

WHAT WILL IT COST?

Ask for an estimate of how much the work will cost,  personally, I always give callers an estimate of how much any given job is likely to cost them and will if at all possible give either a fixed price or maximum cost;  always ask if any estimate quoted includes VAT.

I am surprised that the vast majority of people never ask about cost, don’t ever by too shy to ask because any reputable locksmith will provide an estimate based on the average time it takes to do a particular job.

Most locksmiths charge by the hour and will estimate how long the job is likely to take, if you are given the hourly rate check that if they run into a new hour whether they will charge the whole hour or just the actual time taken.

Depending on they type of job, they may in some circumstances be able to provide a fixed quote although this could work out slightly more costly than the hourly rate as it is necessary to allow for unknown variables that might lengthen the time taken.

Clearly any estimate is just that, based on a customers’s telephone description it is impossible to determine all the variables that could cause delay but when the locksmith is working on site they regularly update you, explaining any issues and also provide you options based on what they find to enable you to make properly informed decisions.

WHERE IS THE ACTUAL ATTENDING LOCKSMITH BASED?

There are many so called locksmiths that advertise National coverage.  Whilst I can’t comment on their actual coverage they do not cover all areas and some sub-contract to anyone they can get, others might travel large distance which of course adds to the costs. Many of these companies charge considerably more than your local reputable locksmith some considerably more.

If possible check out the website which should have the address from which the locksmith operates.

HOW WILL THEY GO ABOUT THE JOB

If you are telephoning a local reputable locksmith, you are likely to speak to the locksmith that will be attending, if this is not the case then ask to speak to them.  You don’t need to know the full technical details but they ought to be able to reassure you they are not going to just get the drill straight out and cause damage that might not be necessary.  Drilling locks is usually the last resort.

WHAT ASSOCIATIONS DOES THE LOCKSMITH BELONG TO

Anyone can become a locksmith with no training, whilst some very good locksmiths choose not to belong to any of the associations, you have to be wary of potential “cowboys” too.  There are a number of locksmith associations for example the Master Locksmiths Association which ensure a level of good workmanship and reasonable charges etc, check out the association webpages if you have time and the locksmith attending should have identification or certification proving their membership.

IS YOUR LOCKSMITH CRB CHECKED?

As previously stated, anyone can set up as a locksmith, and you are going to trust them with keys to your property, or safe etc etc, if they are CRB checked this ought to prove they have no previous criminal convictions for dishonesty, once agin they ought to be able to show you documentation ort certification proving the CRB check.

WHAT DO OTHER CUSTOMERS SAY

If you are able to do so, have a look at the website, and see if there are any customer testimonials.  (Be slightly wary because some unscrupulous individuals can just make these up)  Have a good look at the website to see if it seems genuine and that your locksmith is a member of the local community if possible

SECURITY ADVICE

Many local reputable locksmiths over time become security experts, some have other previous security expertise to add weight to that expertise an can offer other services for example free no obligation security surveys so that you can be made aware of any security vulnerabilities you may have.

You have to put a lot of of trust in any locksmith you employ so don’t be afraid to ask the necessary questions including price estimates to help build that trust.

If you don’t ask a few questions, you might end up paying far too much or having a door that looks like this:

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Ten Simple Tips To Make your Shed or Outbuilding More Secure

Shed and Outbuilding burglary is a continuing to be a problem in the areas we cover on the whole, they tend to make easy targets and it needn’t cost the earth to make them more secure.

Below are ten simple tips to make your shed or outbuilding more secure. There are a couple of issues with sheds and outdoor buildings that many people may not realise; the total value of everything they contain is likely to be far higher than you might at first think and secondly, it is likely to contain many tools and implements that an opportunist burglar could use to enter your home.

1. Consider the approach to your shed or outbuilding, do you shut/lock access gates?

2. Preventing unwanted visitors entering your property is what you need to achieve, but nobody wants their home looking like a prison surrounded by high walls and barbed wire, and that is not necessary. Mother nature provides an environmentally friendly, attractive and particularly effective alternative – the prickly bush, these can be extremely effective when planted around perimeter areas. Don’t go for height particularly at the front as this could hide unwanted visitors on your property from sight. A high hedge can be great for an opportunist theft as they are confident of not being seen while they are up to no good.

3. There are many forms of driveway alert that sound in the house when someone enters your drive these start from as little as £30.

4. Consider motion sensitive outdoor lighting. During the hours of darkness lighting can not only be a comfort factor for the occupant, it is an excellent deterrent for would be opportunist burglars who clearly do not want to be seen. Be sure to fit them out of reach so they cannot be tampered with and if they are bright halogen lights, not pointing directly at neighbours houses so as to cause a nuisance.

5. Starting with the outside of each shed or building, ensure the walls are as secure as they can be, mend any holes that someone could crawl through or make bigger etc.

6. Install the best security locking devices possible, ensure that padlocks and fittings are sturdy and function properly, and if an outbuilding leads directly into your home make sure that the connecting door is especially secure. Replace and properly secure any cracked windows, and consider adding wire mesh or grilles.

7. Secure any particularly valuable items with padlocks and chains to ground or wall anchors. If you use high quality security it would necessitate a thief having to use a noisy angle grinder rather than relatively silent bolt croppers.

8. Consider locking other smaller valuable tools items such as chainsaws etc to the same ground or wall anchors at least locking lots of items together to make them very difficult to move.

9. Consider CCTV or if that is beyond your budget, you could consider a high quality dummy CCTV camera.

10. Consider an alarm, these can range from a simple shed alarm which sell for less than £10 through to a properly installed alarm system either as part of or separate to the house alarm.

 

Just in case the worst does happen despite your best efforts, check that you have sufficient insurance cover for your sheds and outbuildings and that tools and equipment of significant value is covered. Ensure you comply with your insurers minimum requirements, such as locking ATVs to ground anchors as otherwise your insurance may not pay out. Make a note of the serial numbers of valuable tools and equipment, Mark them in some way either with a property marketing solution or by putting your postcode in a way that cannot be easily removed. Always consider asking the advice of your local reputable locksmith who should be able to assist with general security advice as well as product specific advice and will offer an installation service should you require it.

Letterbox Burglary

LETTERBOX BURGLARY

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Letterbox burglary continues to be a problem in many parts of the UK.

If like most people you have a letterbox,  it could make you more vulnerable to burglary.  My advice would be if you can afford it, or when you replace the door,  loose the letterbox altogether and put an external mailbox on the wall outside.

Letterboxes firstly enable a potential burglar to look into your house and also listen to see if you are at home.  If you keep house or car keys anywhere near the door some burglars will use a rod to steal the keys to either gain entry to your house without damage or more likely just steal your car.

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If you have a UPVC  door or other type with multipoint locking, some  might allow a burglar to open the door simply by using an implement to pull the internal handle down or turn your thumb-turn cylinder.

 

You can prevent the handle being pulled down simply by pushing it up and locking with the key. It has been known for insurance companies to question whether a premises was properly secured when doors have been opened through the letterbox.

 

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So what can you do to make your letterbox more secure?

Luckily there are a few simple steps you can take, you could fit a security cowl to make it harder for a burglar to reach your lock, you can also fit a letter cage or fireproof security letterbox. There are many different types to chose from, your local reputable locksmith will happily advise as to what would work best for your type of door and situation.

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Specific Types of Lock

A lot of people are not aware of some specific types of locks that locksmiths can offer to suit certain situations; in this blog I have explained some of the specific types of lock that can be provided by your local reputable locksmith.

KEYED ALIKE

Most locks are keyed to differ which means you need a different key for each lock. Keyed alike means you can have any number of locks that open with a single key. This could include a combination of euro cylinders, rim cylinders (often referred to as Yale cylinders), screw in cylinders and/or padlocks. This option can reduce a huge bunch of keys to just 1 key that fits all.

MASTER KEYED

Master keying basically gives different keys different levels of access. The best way to describe this is to think of a hotel with 5 floors; The cleaner for each floor only requires access to rooms on that floor but no other floor. The cleaning supervisors key will access all rooms on all floors but not the offices. The managers key will open all offices and all rooms on all floors.

RESTRICTED PATENTED PROFILES

These types of locks have keys that cannot legally be copied by local key cutters etc, particularly useful for landlords, clubs, bed & breakfast etc when you hand a key to someone they should not be able to get copies

HOW PATENTED KEYS PROTECT

If keys can be borrowed a duplicate can be cut locally, then the borrower becomes an unauthorised master key holder.

Cylinder systems that rely on copyright protection can no longer be legally protected from others manufacturing and selling ‘pirate’ key blanks. Only cylinder systems that offer Patent protection for their keys can truly protect against illegal key blank duplication.

Patent protection prevents unauthorised duplication of the key
● Manufacturer can impose restrictions on key copying
● Manufacturer can control who has access to key cutting
● Keys cannot be cut at any high street shops without legal implications

CLUTCH RELEASE FUNCTION (euro cylinder with thumb turn)

● When the key is inserted into the cylinder, the thumbturn disengages by use of a clutch mechanism
● This allows the door to be unlocked even if the thumbturn is being held in the locked position from the inside – ideal for situations where a non key holder could hold the thumbturn in the locked position to prevent the door being unlocked

CLASSROOM FUNCTION (euro cylinder with thumb turn)

● Provides the same functionality as clutch release plus
● The thumbturn can be rotated in one direction only via a ratchet mechanism in the turn side of the cylinder
● Person can only unlock the door from inside – ensures that somebody inside the room cannot lock anybody out but can always escape in case of emergency

CONSTRUCTION KEYING

● Construction keying allows the contractor of a project full access during the construction period
● On first operation of the building owner’s key, the construction key will be permanently disabled.