Police warn households to be careful of this new burglary trick

We might all be at home, but we still need to be on our guard

One of the perks of this last year has been the drop in burglaries. However, with over 1,100 burglaries a day still happening across the UK, burglars are finding increasingly clever ways to break into our homes.

Related: Burglary claims are falling across the UK apart from in this major city

Burglars are becoming more innovative. Here are the latest burglary tricks and trends sweeping the country, and how to best protect your property against them.

hallway area with white door wooden table and white walls

(Image credit: Ti-Media)

Masking tape trick

A new trick using tape is sweeping the UK to help burglars identify when a house is empty. This tactic involves potential intruders putting tape over the keyhole of a house they think is empty. If the tape hasn't been removed within a few days, they assume the home is unoccupied.

In a similar manner, some burglars are placing tape tightly over doorbells to keep them ringing. If the homeowner doesn't answer after a while the house is assumed empty.

An alert to this new tactic has been raised by the police in cities such as Birmingham, where some residents came home to find tape covering their doorbell.

room with wooden vanity fruit bowl and patterned walls

(Image credit: Future PLC/ David Brittain)

Leaflet stacks tactic

A similar tactic emerging recently uses leaflets to detect if a house is empty. Burglars post leaflets - from takeaway menus to business flyers - in the letterboxes every day.

After a while, if they can see that the flyers are gathering up in the doorway, they assume the house is unoccupied. If you are going away for a few days consider asking a neighbour to pop in every couple of days to pick up the mail, to avoid falling victim to this trick.

house exterior with brick wall and glass windows

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole)

Forced entry

The next trick is among the most sinister new burglary trends, and involves forced entry. Police in Stockport last year reported a rise in burglars blowtorching locks clean off doors.

The blowtorch destroys the lock area of the door and can be done in a matter of seconds. Another method is lock snapping which uses force to break the weak centres of double cylinder locks.

'Homeowners looking to protect against these new threats should make sure their locks meet recommended safety standards,' says Izzy Schulman, Director at Keys 4 U.

'The best way to protect against lock snapping is to install a 3-star rated cylinder lock, as these are specifically tested against snapping techniques.'

Distraction techniques

 Burglars using distractions isn't a new trend. However, the have been reports of a new distraction technique.

The Wolverhampton police force issued an alert last month warning households against someone claiming to be administering a COVID-19 vaccine as an excuse to enter private property. In one case, the burglar was able to get away with a mobile phone and cash.

To protect against this always ask for ID from anyone who asks to enter your home. If they're from a legitimate company they should be able to provide identification.

Related: Danger at the door! Consumer expert warns how video doorbells can be a security threat

Burglary numbers might be going down, but it's important to always be on your guard.

Rebecca Knight
Deputy Editor, Digital

Rebecca Knight has been the Deputy Editor on the Ideal Home Website since 2022. She graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from City, University of London in 2018, before starting her journalism career as a staff writer on women's weekly magazines. She fell into the world of homes and interiors after joining the Ideal Home website team in 2019 as a Digital Writer. In 2020 she moved into position of Homes News Editor working across Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc and Ideal Home covering everything from the latest viral cleaning hack to the next big interior trend.