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  • GARDAI HUNT LOCK SNAPPING THIEVES; Gangs use new tactic on homes.

    CRAFTY crooks are using a new method called "lock snapping" to burgle homes, the Irish Sunday Mirror can reveal. 

    The thieves use a simple tool to smash the lock in a technique well known among criminals. 

    The break-in method, which is believed to have originated in Yorkshire, England, has become more common in Ireland over the last few months. 

    Euro cylinder locks, which are the ones targeted, are fitted to thousands of properties across the country, usually on uPVC and other double-glazed doors. 

    Gardai have noticed a huge increase in the number of burglars using this tactic. Detectives are trying to track down a four-man gang who have been raiding houses in Co Wicklow. 

    A Garda source last night said: "There is one particular gang who are using this technique to get into houses in the Wicklow area. 

    "A few weeks ago a number of houses were broken into in the Kilcoole area. This team of burglars, which is believed to consist of four men, target homes at night while the unsuspecting householders are asleep. 

    "The method, which is known as 'lock snapping', has become increasingly popular among Irish burglars. It involves applying force and snapping the cylinder in two." 

    The insider said poor-quality uPVC and Composite Euro Cylinder door locks are widespread, making thousands of houses an easy target. 

    Homeowners are being urged to change their lock if necessary. The source added: "People need to look and examine the locks they have on their doors. 

    "The doors which are most susceptible are those which you have to lift the door handle upwards before locking. 

    "Many new-build houses have these particular locks as they are cheap to fit and are within EUsafety standards

    "However, house owners should change them if they want to secure their properties. It costs somewhere in the region of EUR60 to replace the barrel of the lock which is what is targeted. The lock can be broken in as little as 15 seconds." 

    The insider said burglars are using new methods to avoid being caught. He added: "They are now placing socks over their hands so they don't leave any fingerprints

    "It's a simple but effective method." 

    A Garda spokesman last night issued a warning about lock snapping. He said: "We would urge everybody to be security conscious, both while out and about and also with regard to their place of residence. 

    "Gardai liaise with community groups nationwide and can provide advice through them." 

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