There have been several press reports and on television recently about a weakness in the locks on UPVC doors. In some UK areas, notably West Yorkshire, Police are reporting that thieves are clearly exploiting this weakness.
This is a growing problem throughout the country. No special tools are needed, and a burglar can break these Euro Profile Cylinders in a matter of seconds. Although we know the methods used, we will not disclose them in detail as a precaution against “copy-cat” burglaries.
This type of lock is commonly known as a Euro Profile Cylinder and is used worldwide on uPVC, PVCu, aluminum, and some wooden doors. However secure or elaborate the multi-point locking mechanism is, it is the cylinder that is the vulnerable area. The cylinder is the part that allows key operation. If the cylinder is broken, the multi-point lock can be easily opened in no time at all.
All major Lock Manufacturers are working hard to find solutions to the problem.
At the moment, only two of the major lock manufacturers have come up with a viable solution. Both Squire and Mul-T-Lock have designed a cylinder that still snaps, but it does so at a predetermined position, which leaves the door secure. Mul-T-Lock has called their cylinders ‘Break Secure,’ and Squire’s range is called ‘Snapsafe.’
Although these new cylinders are not guaranteed against all attack methods on uPVC doors, they act as a deterrent by making it much more difficult for burglars to gain access.
Some lock manufacturers, such as Squire and ERA, are approaching the problem by offering cylinder security devices or cylinder enhancers. These metal surrounds are secured to the existing cylinder underneath the door handle. ERA’s solution is particularly beneficial as it sandwiches the door and the cylinder in place, making it almost impossible to remove the broken cylinder.
Using these cylinder enhancers together with a Break Secure or SnapSafe cylinder probably is the most effective solution currently available.
To further reduce the possibility of forced entry, it is also important to ensure that a cylinder is the correct size and properly fitted.
A Euro Profile Cylinder should only protrude 2-3mm beyond the door furniture. Often, when cylinders have been replaced, the wrong size replacement has been used, making the door even more vulnerable.
It is a well-known fact that burglars will always choose the easiest option!
To avoid becoming a victim of this type of forced entry, check all door cylinders and, if necessary, upgrade to ‘Break Secure’ or ‘SnapSafe’ ranges.
Whenever a house is empty, always deadlock doors and fit a door chain to the main door to use when you are at home. As an alternative to replacing the cylinders, consider fitting secondary bolts to uPVC doors in other parts of the house.
The most common car theft method is when burglars break into houses and steal the keys, so make sure that any keys (particularly car keys) are hidden. Other easily removed valuables, such as jewelry, should not be left in exposed areas.
A safe is a useful addition to other security methods and an ideal place to keep spare keys, passports, jewelry, cameras, etc. These items are often not just financially valuable but have a great sentimental value that is irreplaceable.
For advice on all aspects of physical security, contact a reputable locksmith. If a locksmith belongs to the MLA (Master Locksmith Association), he has undertaken and passed an independently assessed BLI examination. Every approved company must undergo stringent, regular inspections to ensure that these high quality and administration standards are maintained. All MLA members conform to legal requirements and follow a customer charter, which means that they are qualified and competent to carry out all aspects of the Locksmith trade.