Access thats Cheaper than Your Excess

Simon from Measham called upon our services yesterday when he returned home from business without his keys. We were very interested to learn that he had Locksmith cover through his insurance. He called Mark at Pick Me Locksmith after he was informed how much the excess on a  call out would cost him through his insurance. It Turns out we were nearly £100 cheaper! It just goes to show that local independent locksmiths who keep their overheads down can be really competitive.   

What do I do if I get burgled?

Being burgled is everyone's nightmare and here at Pick Me Locksmith we see the aftermath too often. We have listed 10 things we think you should do if you are unlucky enough to be the victim of a break in. 

1. Call the police, do this as soon as possible; Don't enter the property if you think someone is still inside, make the call from your car or a neighbour's house. The quicker the police are informed the more chance there is of the thief being caught and any stolen goods being returned. You will need the crime reference number for your insurance claim.

2.   Don't touch anything.  Give the police the best chance to catch the thief by not disturbing any evidence they may have left behind. This could be fingerprints on doors and windows, or footprints around the house. Don't touch anything until the police have collected what they need. 

3. Cancel bank cards. If you think there may be a chance cards or bank information has been taken you will need to cancel these immediately and inform your bank.

4. Re-secure your home. This is the point where we at Pick Me Locksmith get involved. Any broken locks or handles will need to be replaced, and other locks may require an upgrade. Some burglars will return if they have seen something they didn't take on their first visit.

5. Ensure all car keys are all accounted for. It is not uncommon for keys to be taken and the thieves to return for the car later.      

6. Make a note of any stolen or damaged property. (This is where keeping lists of items/serial numbers can be helpful.) Go through each room and make a list of all items either taken or damaged. If possible take down any serial numbers or other identifying marks, this will help the police and your insurer. 

7. Inform your insurer. Once the insurer has the crime reference number and the list of items you have had stolen, they will be able to start processing your claim.

8. Review home security. Using your recent experience, now is a good time to look at how the burglars entered your home, and try to identify if there is more you can do to avoid this happening again. Safer Homes, by the Derbyshire constabulary, is a good source of information on how to achieve this.     

9. Get the support you need. Being burgled is a traumatic experience. The police can refer you to Victim Support, but you may want to contact them yourself. Victim Support is a volunteer service that provides free counseling to victims of crimes. You can find them online at https://www.victimsupport.org.uk/ or call them on 0808 1689111

10. Ensure you receive compensation. If someone is convicted of breaking in to your home the courts can order them to compensate you anyof the following:

  • personal injury
  • losses from theft or damage to property
  • losses from fraud
  • being off work
  • medical expenses
  • travel expenses
  • pain and suffering
  • loss, damage or injury caused to or by a stolen vehicle

You need to inform the police if you want to claim this . 

Don't forget to look at our other blogs for more help and advice.

Pre-Holiday Security checklist

Pre-Holiday Security checklist

We’ve pretty much all done it, ran around the house last minute, have you packed your passport? Have you got your swimwear? Have I cancelled the newspapers? Let’s go…only to find ten minutes down the road that niggling feeling…have I locked the door? Have I turned off the lights? Have I cancelled the milk? Even the best of us with flawless checklists can have moments where we doubt ourselves. Some people may not worry about the same things but how important are they?

Here are our top ten tips for leaving for that ‘once in a lifetime’ holiday to try to avoid the return to everybody’s worst nightmare…a burglary!!!

1.       A house sitter: If you can, get someone to house sit. This means you don’t have to worry about any issues for the entire duration of your trip. The house is occupied so is less attractive to a would-be thief.

2.       Neighbours: If you have good neighbours or friends who can visit the house, simply by collecting mail or watering plants they can act as a great deterrent. Plus the house looks more lived in!

3.       Timers: There are various products available on the market from simple plug type timers that allow you to plug in a device such as a lamp or radio, all the way up to the latest ‘smart home’ technology which allows you to control most electrical functions in the home via your smartphone. You can even answer your doorbell from abroad!!!

4.       Cancelling Subscriptions: For those of us who still have a daily newspaper delivery or milkman visit, remember to cancel them for the duration of your holiday. Nothing says “I’m not home” quite like a soggy newspaper hanging from the letterbox or a couple of bottles of milk that has been attacked by the birds for the cream!!

5.       Spare keys: I know how convenient it is to have that spare key tucked under the mat, however, guess where the unwelcome guest will look first! Never leave a key outside at your home, ask a friend or neighbour to keep one for you. This is especially important as if there is no evidence of forced entry your insurer may refuse to pay up.

6.       Temptation: It may be impractical to hide the entire contents of your home, but simple steps can help to make it less appealing. Net curtains can obscure the view to an outsider meaning opportunist thieves are less likely. Make sure that valuable jewellery is both correctly insured and stored away. There have been many incidents where the robbers head straight to the bedroom and rifle through jewellery boxes and bedside tables for valuables that can be quickly sold but not easily traced.

7.       Vehicle security: Make sure that vehicle keys are stored out of sight. Many people use a hidden safe or leave them with someone they trust.  There has been an increase recently of homes being targeted due to the car on the drive. If you have a garage, use it for your vehicle while you are away at the very least.

8.       Boundaries: Leading up to the departure date it is wise to check that your fences and gates are in good working order, with locks if possible. Have a look around your garden for any items that could be used to break into your home e.g. Ladders, tools, heavy ornaments. Place your bins behind the locked gate to discourage their use to climb into your garden or house. Check that any outside lights and alarms are working as they should.

9.       The Countdown: However tempting it is to share your excitement and the full itinerary of your break, please do not make it common knowledge. It is too easy nowadays to post on a social media platform every last detail of how long your house will be empty for. It doesn’t take much to look through your personal pages and work out exactly where you live. Be mindful about who has access to your personal information, check your security settings. It is always better to post on your return and upload as many pictures as you want!!

10.   Final Checks: Give yourself plenty of time on the day of departure so you can make sure that all windows are closed and locked, timers are set, valuables are safely stored, and doors are properly locked. For further advice we recommend you visit the safer homes website, at

 www.saferhomes http://www.derbyshire.police.uk/Safety-advice/Your-Home-and-Business/Your-Home-and-Neighbourhood/Safer-Homes.aspx

 

 

Lastly, here at Pick Me Locksmith we wish you a fantastic holiday and a safe return home. We do offer a free security survey so if you have any concerns after reading the above please feel free to give Mark a call on 01283 430162  

Rim Cylinder

Rim Cylinders are often referred to as Yale locks. These were fitted to most front doors before uPVC and composite doors became available. The rim cylinder is used with a night latch, this is the part fitted to the inside of the door.   

The most common problem with these is when the door shuts behind you and the keys are inside!

They are relatively easy to by-pass so I wouldn't suggest a rim cylinder is the most secure lock. A lot of people also have a mortice deadlock, or sash lock fitted but don't use these as the rim cylinders are more convenient. I would advise you to use the mortice lock, if you have one fitted, along with the rim cylinder, as this will ensure your home or business is more secure.

If you have any concerns about your security or the locks you have fitted, give Pick Me Locksmith a call.     

A night latch 

A night latch 

Rim Cylinder

Rim Cylinder

Mortice lock

Before the introduction of the euro cylinder most, if not all, side and rear entrances would have had a mortice lock fitted. There are lots of different brands of mortice lock, but ultimately there are two types, a sash lock or deadlock. The difference is a sash lock has a handle built in to the lock and a deadbolt doesn't. (So in the case of the deadbolt you would have a separate  handle fitted if required.) I often hear these two locks referred to as Chubb locks, this is like calling a vacuum cleaner a Hoover and the reason is the same, Chubb are one of the founding brands of lock.

Some of the common faults I have dealt with other than lost keys are:

Broken Talon - This won't mean much to most people but the symptom is easy to identify, when you put the correct key in the lock it will turn freely but the lock will not open. 

Key won't open the lock - There could be a few reasons for this if it's the correct key for example I often see older locks that have been used for many years and the keys simply wear. If you keep a key in the lock all the time then you can cause the key and the levers to wear, this means other keys may stop working. 

There are more faults with these locks known to locksmiths, if your key becomes difficult to use or the handle starts to become loose then it's probably time to get the locks replaced. This will avoid the extra work required if you can't open or lock your door. The one thing I can guarantee is it will definitely break when you really don't need it to!

If you have any issues or questions regarding your mortice locks then give Mark at  Pick Me Locksmith  a call today on 01283 430162.      

Mortice sash lock

Mortice sash lock

Eurocylinder

Eurocylinders are one of the most common locks fitted to properties today. They are fitted to uPVC, composite, wooden and alumininium doors.

 

 

A Eurocylinder fitted to a uPVC door

A Eurocylinder fitted to a uPVC door

One of the most common faults that I have found with Eurocylinders during my time, is a slipped cam. 

The problem with a slipped cam is that the key can't be removed once the door is locked. When this happens the cam is not positioned in the door mechanism correctly, this prevents the lock from rotating fully so the key is in the correct position and can be removed.

I believe that these faults can be due to inferior locks in some cases, but a lot of the time I find the doors are not operating correctly due to poor fitting or having dropped over time and the customer has had to use excess force to lock their door. 

I am often told that a door has a particular "knack" to use it. If a door needs a special knack to use then its only a matter of time until you will require the assistance of a locksmith.

If you can accurately explain the problem and the type of lock to a good locksmith they will know what to do before they arrive.  If you call Mark he will be more than happy to advise.  

New Hinges

We helped a customer yesterday who was considering a door replacement. They had attempted to adjust the hinges but couldn't quite get the door to close in the frame.

Worn hinges can cause problems with the fitting of the door over time.    

Worn hinges can cause problems with the fitting of the door over time.

 

 

We quickly identified the problem and offered a quick and cost effective solution giving the old door a new lease of life by replacing the hinges. 

 

New hinges can increase the life of a door at a fraction of the cost. 

New hinges can increase the life of a door at a fraction of the cost. 

One of the most frequent comments we receive from our customers is that a door we have fixed works better than it it ever has before! If you have a door that requires a "Knack" to operate then give Mark a call.

Checkatrade and Which trusted trader

Pick me locksmith has now achieved accreditation from both Checkatrade and Which trusted trader. This demonstrates the professional, customer focused approach we take when serving our customers and now gives you an opportunity to see what others think of our service. 

Already a Pick me locksmith customer? You can leave us feedback on how we have done at http://www.checkatrade.com/PickMeLocksmithLtd/ or http://trustedtraders.which.co.uk/businesses/pick-me-locksmith-ltd/  

What type of lock do I have?

When I receive a call from a customer the first thing I want to know is what I am dealing with. This helps me to give accurate advice on expected time and cost, this will ensure the locksmith you call is best prepared to deal with your problem.

 Here is some basic information on the main types of lock fitted to most homes and a lot of commercial premises.

Euro cylinder

Euro cylinders are the most common lock as they are found in modern UPVC and composite doors and can also be found in some wooden or metal doors if fitted in a Euro profile deadlock, you should still be able to identify that you have a euro cylinder using the photo below as a reference.

 

Euro cylinder  fitted to a UPVc Door

Euro cylinder  fitted to a UPVc Door

Mortice lock

These are found in wooden doors and are often described to me as a Chubb lock. The key is a good way of identifying a mortice lock.

Mortice sashlock

Mortice sashlock

Rim Cylinder

Often referred to as a Yale lock.  

Rim Cylinder

Rim Cylinder

Pick me locksmith deals with a variety a faults on all these locks and the mechanisms they are fitted to. We carry a good selection of spares and can often repair the fault on the first visit.

If you find your lock won’t open or even lock then don’t hesitate to give Mark a call.

How to Win The Locksmith Lottery!

Pick me locksmith Aces.png

To really win, know who you are dealing with, use someone who really is local with an excellent reputation.

Pay when the door or window is opened or fixed and the job is done……if it even needs doing! Non destructive entry, should you lose your key or accidently lock it inside, with you outside! (easily done!), is just a standard fee, as is realignment and adjustment.

Stay in control. We at Pick Me Locksmith take pride in our service and value our clients and reputation.  We only supply what you need and do not have the overheads of call centers.  By avoiding a franchise cost we keep prices competitive.

Put me, PickMe Locksmith in your phone.. Mark Santi, PickMe Locksmith 07593 865321.  Simple yet effective!

Put Pick Me Locksmith in your mobile phone

Put me, Pick Me Locksmith in your phone. Obviously it’s not possible! However putting my name and number in your phone is possible. Mark Santi, Pick Me Locksmith 07593 865321. Simple yet effective!

Instead of Pick Me Locksmith details inside, on a card, leaflet or on a webpage, warm and dry; and you on the outside, potentially cold, wet, tired and in a hurry, at the door or longingly looking through the window, desperate to get in to your own home…………have my details to hand already on your phone; outside. Memorable as I am, it isn’t always easy, when you can’t get into your home, office or business. “Time is money!”

Don’t panic, never fear, Mark is near!

Let me be your spare key.

Pick me locksmith phone

Burglars and Bonfires

Enjoy Bonfire Night, beware the bad ‘Guy’ , and stay safe on what is possibly the worst day of the year for burglary.

Traditionally the days around and including Bonfire Night, see a rise in break –ins, criminal damage and anti-social behaviour. Some insurance companies say this is the worst day of the year for burglary.

Now for the amazingly obvious!

Please remember to check your doors are locked.  It is easily done, we have all done it, when in a rush and distracted, looking forward to a roaring bonfire and firework display. In 2 out of 10 cases, burglars get in through unlocked doors and windows.

Don’t let your home look like a brightly lit up shop window, close your curtains. Put valuables out of site.  Research reveals those holding firework parties at home risk opportunist thieves, by leaving doors unlocked and windows unchecked.

If your front and back doors are not secure, neither is your home. 66% of burglars gain entry through a door.  If a door isn’t closing properly or locking easily, it is a sign that at some stage, it will in fact, eventually stop working , just when really you could least do without it!

Mark offers a free security check, is able to advise on door, patio door security, added security and the best quality locks to suit your budget.

Includes data from: www.derbyshire.police.uk  Safer Homes: Bonfire Night

In the unfortunate case of a burglary it is advised repairs be carried out as soon as possible and if possible additional security improvements made. Statistics show an increased chance of a burglar returning to pick up items seen previously.

 

 

DSCF1188.JPG

Lock failure

Lock failure

When the locks failed on the front door at Specsavers in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, they needed a fast solution to ensure they could open their store on time. When Mark from Pick Me Locksmiths assessed the lock, it was unfortunately deemed unrepairable so it was replaced with a keyed alike lock so they could have one key which operates all the locks.

Read More