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Byline: Steffan George

WE ALL know how stressful it can be when you're about to run out of the door for a holiday or short break.

In-between checking you have your tickets, money and passport for the hundredth time, there are also the kids to deal with, the fish to feed and the taxi to order.

However, the last thing you want after a holiday is to come home to find your stress levels soaring up again upon discovering you have been broken into.

To ensure this doesn't happen to you it is vital to allow yourself plenty of time to review your home security before you go away.

It can be difficult to know where to start with a security review, so the Master Locksmiths Association has put together a checklist of what to look out for before you set out on your travels: * Make sure you have good quality and professionally fitted locks (and doors/windows) and also that the locks meet your insurance requirements. * Check your house from the outside in - are there any ladders or objects in the garden that could be used to break into your property? If so, can they be moved and stored somewhere securely? * Remove any valuable objects from view within the house and in any outhouses such as garages and sheds.

Make sure all your windows and doors (including internal doors to conservatories and garages) are locked and all the keys are taken out of the locks and stored securely.

Are any house keys left in the door locks? If so, then remove them and store them somewhere secure. Side windows can also be smashed to reach keys and gain entry, so consider adding reinforced glass or maybe even block the glass up if you feel appropriate.

Decorative grilles and bars can also vastly improve the security of a home without being detrimental to the aesthetics. * Consider installing a number of light timers around the house so it appears someone is home at night. Also think about lighting outside - consider using 'dusk till dawn' lighting or sensor-based lights. * Are neighbours, family or friends able to pop into the house to open curtains and remove post? The house will appear as though you really are at home which will deter opportunist criminals.

Added security such as alarms and even CCTV could act as a deterrent.

Alarms will alert neighbours to intruders, so make sure you set them before you leave. CCTV and alarms can also be managed by a security company who will monitor your property while you are away - always alert them of your holiday in advance.

Depending on what valuables you possess you may want to consider getting a safe professionally supplied and installed. * You may also want to install top and bottom bolts on French doors or add sash jammers to UPVC doors.

Hide car keys out of sight - statistics show that thieves are increasingly breaking into homes to steal car keys, so don't make it easy for them. Always park your car in the garage while you are away.

Outhouses such as sheds and garages should be locked with a suitably approved lock - a good source of advice is Sold Secure, a premier testing and certification house for security products. * Lock any side or back gates - again using a recommended lock.

Cancel any deliveries of newspapers and milk.

* And finally and most importantly, remember to lock all your doors and windows!

Home security can be complicated, so consider asking a trusted professional such as an MLA licensed locksmith to survey the physical security of your house and ensure you have the appropriate locks fitted.

For more information log on at and to review a list of independently tested and approved security products visit
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jun 21, 2011
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