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Shedding the light on outbuilding security

How much do you value the contents of your outbuildings such as sheds and garages? Many underestimate the level of security needed to protect their contents, forgetting that home security shouldn’t just be to preserve of your main property.

Here, Dr Steffan George, development director of the Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) – the leading trade association for the locksmithing profession – provides guidance on how to keep outbuildings secure.

Sheds, garages and other outbuildings are valuable features of our properties, often providing much needed storage for high value items such as bicycles, gardening equipment and tools. Statistics show that the average haul for thieves who break into sheds is over £800.

An ill-secured and poorly maintained outbuilding can be an easy target for potential burglars, as it presents them with a relatively low risk and high gain opportunity. Tools are one of the biggest attractions to thieves and provide the opportunity to use the very same items to break into your own home.

When it comes to protecting your outbuildings, it is important not to be tempted to economise by buying cheap locks. It is well worth investing in high quality locks and padlocks, making sure that you use products that have been approved by an independent product testing house – such as Sold Secure – to provide you with valuable peace of mind.

Maintenance is also a vital, yet often overlooked aspect of outbuilding security. Rusted locks, chains and hasps and staples, cracked panes of glass and even rotten frames and sills are all things that opportunistic thieves look out for – so it is essential that you perform regular and thorough maintenance checks on all areas of outbuildings.

Another extremely important consideration is to conduct regular inspections and maintenance on any internal doors linking outbuildings to the main property. Criminals may use these as a means of entry to the main home if they are not properly secured.

If you do note any damage, don’t be tempted to undertake any repairs yourself as factors such as fitting the wrong products can not only have a detrimental effect on security but could affect your insurance premiums/cover; should the worst happen.

We advise that you get in touch with your local MLA approved locksmith who will be able to advise you on a full range of security measures that not only offer you peace of mind within your home, but will be in line with your home insurance requirements.

Your local locksmith may also be able to perform a complete security assessment of your home and any outbuildings free of charge.

Meanwhile, to provide an even more enhanced level of security for your outbuildings, installing window bars and grilles can offer an extra means of protection. To secure valuable possessions inside, products such as ground anchors and heavy-duty chains can provide an extra line of defence.

There are many other options available to homeowners that can greatly heighten the level of security around a property; alarms fitted to outbuildings, outdoor security lighting – such as dusk till dawn and motion sensor lighting – and CCTV systems can all act as great deterrents, as well as a means of immediately alerting you to any intruders.

To find a locksmith in your area visit the user-friendly MLA website at www.locksmiths.co.uk. To review a list of independently tested and approved security products visit the Sold Secure website at: www.soldsecure.com. Security guidelines for domestic properties can also be downloaded free of charge from http://www.locksmiths.co.uk/security-advice/security-guidelines-for-domestic-dwellings/.

Dr Steffan George of the MLA

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