You may have seen recent reports on television news or in the newspapers of a weakness in the locks on uPVC doors. The weakness is currently being exploited by burglars in some areas of the UK, notably the West Yorkshire Police area. To our knowledge, such attacks are not yet common place in the Stockport, Macclesfield, Cheshire and south Manchester areas.
The problem, known as snapping, which is growing around the country, are various methods are used by the burglars using simple everyday tools, allowing them to exploit an inherent flaw in the design of these Euro Profile Cylinders. The cylinders, in many cases, can be overcome in a matter of seconds and although we know the methods used we will not disclose these methods in any detail, as a precaution against “copy-cat” burglaries.
The lock in question is not of any particular make, but is the type of lock fitted to the majority of uPVC, PVCu and some wooden doors throughout the world, it is commonly known as a Euro Profile Cylinder. It is the part which provides the key operation to the multi-point locking mechanism fitted to the door. No matter how secure or elaborate the multi-point locking mechanism is, if the cylinder is compromised the multi-point lock can be opened in seconds without difficulty.
All major Lock Manufacturers are now working hard to find solutions to the problem.
Currently there are limited products on the market to combat this form of attack. Two major lock manufacturers notably Mul-T-Lock and Squire have produced a new design of cylinder which ensures the cylinder snaps at a predetermined position leaving the door still secured and requiring the use of the correct key to unlock the door. Mul-T-Locks range of anti snapping cylinders are called ‘Break Secure’ and Squire’s range are called ‘Snapsafe’
Although this design of cylinder is still not 100% guaranteed to prevent all the methods of attack used on uPVC doors. It will prevent the most common methods slowing down the burglars attempts and making it considerably more difficult, therefore increasing the chance of him giving up.
In addition to these cylinders some manufacturers notably Squire and ERA are producing cylinder enhancers or cylinder security devices. Various designs are available to suit uPVC and composite doors these consist of a metal surround which is secured to the existing cylinder underneath the door handle. ERA’s range is possibly the most secure, with the designs securing through the door to sandwich the cylinder in place making it virtually impossible to remove the ‘snapped’ cylinder. These devices used in conjunction with a Break Secure or SnapSafe cylinder will ensure the methods currently being used are ineffective.
The risk of forced entry via the methods used is reduced if the cylinder fitted is of the correct size and properly fitted. However often when cylinders have been replaced in the past it is found that an incorrect size has been used leaving the door vulnerable. It is recommended that the euro profile cylinder should not protrude outside of the door furniture any more than 2-3mm.
Remember burglars always choose the easy option!
In order to ensure you do not become one of the many victims of this type of forced entry, review your current door cylinders now and consider upgrading your cylinders to the newly available ‘Break Secure’ or SnapSafe ranges currently available or fit an additional Cylinder Security Device or Enhancer to your existing cylinder.
In the meantime, ensure you deadlock your doors whenever your home is unattended. We also advise that a door chain be fitted and used on the main entrance door when the house is occupied and if uPVC doors are fitted to other areas consider fitting additional internal secondary bolts, such as “sash jammers”
Other sensible precautions include ensuring that any keys (particularly car keys) are not left where they can be found by burglars. (The most common method of car theft is by breaking into homes and stealing the keys). Other portable valuables should also be removed from vulnerable areas.
A safe will compliment any form of security to the property by reducing the risk of sentimental and valuable items being taken should a burglar gain entry. Securing small valuables can save a great deal of inconvenience and upset and it is recommended that you keep spare keys, passports, jewellery, cameras etc. locked in a safe.
For guidance and advice from reputable qualified locksmith’s only choose a locksmith that is a member of the Master Locksmith Association whose members would be pleased to offer advice and guidance, without obligation on any aspects of your properties physical security.
By using an MLA approved Locksmith you are assured that the locksmith you employ is of the highest standard of Integrity and that the work undertaken will be carried out to very high standards.
All Master Locksmiths have undertaken and passed an independently assessed BLI examination to ensure they are qualified and competent to carry out all aspects of the Locksmith trade. And every Approved Company undergoes stringent, regular inspections, thus ensuring that it maintains high standards in workmanship and administration. Additionally members are expected to conform to legal requirements and follow a customer charter to service customer satisfaction.
The Master Locksmith Association has a freephone call line allowing people to locate and authenticate locksmiths claiming to be members.
Tel: 0800 783 1498 or visit their website @ www.locksmiths.co.uk