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UPVC/Patio Door Lock Cylinder Replacement

There have been a number of reports in the press and on television recently about a weakness in the locks on UPVC doors. In some areas of the UK, notably West Yorkshire, Police are reporting that this weakness is clearly being exploited by thieves. 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 and although we know the methods used, we will not disclose them in any 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, aluminium 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 which 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 a 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 have called their cylinders ‘Break Secure’ and Squire’s range is called ‘Snapsafe’ Although these new cylinders are not guaranteed against all methods of attack 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 of the utmost importance 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 and this makes 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. Always deadlock doors whenever a house is empty, 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 method of car theft 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 jewellery, should not be left in exposed areas. A safe is a useful addition to other methods of security and an ideal place to keep spare keys, passports, jewellery, cameras etc. These items are often not just financially valuable but have a great sentimental value which 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 to have undertaken and passed an independently assessed BLI examination. Every approved Company has to undergo stringent, regular inspections to ensure that these high standards of workmanship and administration are maintained. As well, 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.


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