Advice relating to Euro cylinder locks

Following the concerns raised by West Yorkshire Police relating to the vulnerability of Euro cylinder style locks used mainly on uPVC doors, North Yorkshire Police have issued the following advice.

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North Yorkshire is one of the safest places in the UK and has the lowest crime rate in England. The number of lock-snapping burglaries reported to North Yorkshire Police is minimal compared to other areas.

However, now is an ideal opportunity for householders to carry out a full review of all of their security arrangements including the replacement of Euro cylinder locks, which can be done fairly simply.

The lock on your door is one aspect of domestic security and there are many other things that you can also look at to assist in preventing burglary, some of which will be free of charge. 

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What is "lock snapping" ?
As the title would suggest, this is where the lock cylinder is literally snapped in two by applying force to the cylinder.

Thieves have devised methods of snapping these types of cylinders locks in a matter of seconds and still be able to operate the lock to open the door.       

This threat can be considerably reduced simply by upgrading the cylinder to one that is specifically designed to prevent this method of attack. We recommend that all vulnerable doors using Euro-Profile cylinders be upgraded to incorporate 'Break Secure' cylinders.

Euro cylinders are mainly fitted to uPVC doors but some aluminium and wooden doors also use this type of lock.

How do I know if I have a vulnerable lock?

euro cylinder lock Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window

This is a photo of a fitted Euro cylinder style lock

You cannot tell from the outside if it is a vulnerable lock, it would need to be dismantled. Although this is fairly simple to do, our advice is to contact a registered locksmith for advice.

If you have a Secured by Design door fitted after 2010 you can be confident that it will have a "Break Secure" lock. Please note this applies only to Secured by Design doors and not all doors.

Solution
Break secure, or anti-snap cylinders, are specifically designed to combat lock-snapping.

A cylinder has been designed that although it will snap, it will snap in a predetermined position leaving intact a portion of the cylinder that will still provide security and still require key operation to open, thus preventing the easy manipulating of the locking system.

Break secure euro cylinder Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window

This is a photo of a break secure cylinder - the cylinder is designed to break at the points shown leaving the centre locking mechanism still intact and working.

A qualified locksmith can offer a full installation and upgrade service to meet your needs; or a replacement break secure euro cylinder can be purchased from any recognised DIY store.

Replacement lock cylinders should meet all parts of the exacting British Standard Kitemark (BS EN 1303:2005) accreditation scheme.

A new standard, TS007, is due to be introduced later this year following the concerns raised by West Yorkshire Police. Look out for details of this in the media and online.

The Master Locksmiths' Association website  www.locksmiths.co.uk provides a list of registered locksmiths who will be able to provide advice and information and give you practical help to ensure your locks are suitable.

The minimum recommendation for wooden doors is five-lever mortice locks which carry the British Standard BS3621.

If you have traditional nightlatch (commonly known as a Yale lock) fitted to your doors, do not rely on this as the only method of security. You must fit other locks, preferably deadlocks.

General home security
A recent spate of burglaries in York saw one out of every two burglaries committed via an unlocked door or window. Therefore, one of the most important steps to prevent your home from being burgled is to always remember to lock them!

The security around your home starts at the perimeter of your property and ranges from security lighting, sturdy locking gates to removing valuables and attractive items from view. 

Check list

  • I've checked that all the doors and windows are locked - even if I'm only popping out for a minute.
  • My door locks meet British standards
  • I've made sure that neither my house keys nor my car keys are in sight or easy reach of my windows or doors, and that I don't keep them in an obvious place in the house.
  • I've fitted key-operated locks to all the windows.
  • I've installed a visible burglar alarm, and I turn it on whenever I leave the house.
  • I haven't hidden my spare keys outside, or in the garage or shed.
  • I leave the lights and the radio on a timer for the evening when I'm out, so that it looks like I'm in. If it's dark outside I also draw the curtains.
  • I've made sure thieves can't get into the garden - there's a good fence surrounding the house and the side gate is sturdy and padlocked The garden shed is also locked.
  • I haven't left any ladders or tools outside, which someone could use to get into the house.
  • I've made sure that valuables like laptops, handbags, jewellery can't be seen from the window.
  • I haven't left any cash lying around or any documents with my name, address or other personal details (such as a bank statement or bill) that fraudsters could use.
  • If I'm going on holiday, I've arranged for a friend or neighbour to collect the post and put the bins out.

2 in 1 burglars
Some burglars are looking for your car keys so they can steal your car. Make it hard for thieves. Don't leave car keys where they are visible.

Visible burglar alarms are good, and outside lighting puts burglars off. But make sure that your security lights are positioned out of reach of a burglar, and that they don't disturb your neighbours. Your alarm should turn itself off after 20 minutes at the most (this is in case it goes off when you're not there).

Mark your property
Mark important and expensive possessions (such as your computer or DVD player) with your postcode and house number using special security marker pens. Keep a record of the make, model and serial numbers of all your electrical equipment for reference too. If the police recover them after a burglary, this record will be proof that they are stolen goods - and that they are yours.

You can register your property on the national database Immobilise.

Log on to www.immobilise.co.uk