May 22, 2005
Angry Burnham residents call on council to silence nuisance burglar alarm

Angry residents on a Burnham housing estate have called in the district council after being kept awake by a faulty burglar alarm which kept ringing while the owners of the house were on holiday.

As the owner had left no details of keyholders with the council or police, Sedgemoor District Council had no alternative but to deal with the matter under the Environmental Protection Act as a serious noise nuisance. This noise nuisance is detrimental to adjoining neighbours.

Armed with a Justice’s Warrant to enter the property, a council employee then enlisted the help of a locksmith and an alarm expert to silence the alarm – much to the relief of nearby residents.

The occupiers of the house will have an unpleasant shock when they return as they will be faced with a large bill. The final cost has yet to be calculated, but it could be £400 or more.

A Sedgemoor District Council spokesperson said: “Technically, they have committed an offence punishable by a fine of up to £5,000 for allowing their alarm to sound in contravention of a notice that was served in their absence. Alarms should silence themselves within 20 minutes.”

“The moral of the tale is to let the police and council know, in writing, the contact details of two keyholders who could silence your alarm before going away on holiday,” added the spokesperson.

What to do if a nuisance burglar alarm sounds near you:

If you feel the alarm is causing a nuisance, try to establish the exact source of it as this enables the problem resolved more swiftly. Note down the address and any other relevant details such as the name of the company on the alarm box or, if it’s a car alarm, the registration number plus colour, make and model.

You should in the first instance ring Burnham police on 0845 4567000. They will respond if there has been a break-in. They will not, however, act to silence an alarm if there has not been a break-in.

Ask neighbours if they know the whereabouts of the owner/occupiers or if anyone knows who holds a key.

If the alarm is causing a problem over a long period of time, you can contact Sedgemoor District Council on 0845 408 2540.

Try not to leave it until the end of the day to report a problem. It is easier for the council to deal with the problem if they receive the complaint earlier in the day.

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