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Brits keep items to fend off burglars

Burglar attempting to break into a propertyNearly half of Brits admit keeping a household item for use as a weapon to fend off burglars, finds new research by Confused.com.

Millions of Brits are prepared to protect themselves against burglary with the use of a household item as a weapon.

Some 49 per cent of the nation's households admit keeping a household item for use against intruders, according to new research by Confused.com.

Of this number, 66 per cent say they are not afraid to use such a weapon in self-defence against an intruder in the event of a break-in.

Household items for self-defence

The most popular item for self-defence is a baseball bat or cricket bat, with 16 per cent of householders opting for this as their weapon of choice.

And 12 per cent say they would use a heavy tool in the home.

Others would arm themselves with less obvious items including pots and pans - 10 per cent - or a torch - 7 per cent.

Home security measures

Many UK householders are taking additional security measures to ensure a break-in doesn't happen in the first place.

Some 47 per cent say they have fitted extra door locks to keep trespassers out, and 31 per cent have installed a burglar alarm

And 20 per cent of people have kitted out their home with self-timed lights to deter thieves.

This fear of intruders seems to be backed up by the research, which shows that 30 per cent of Brits have been a victim of burglary.

Some 39 per cent of householders who have been burgled were at home when the break-in occurred, according to Confused.com’s exclusive poll of 2,000 Brits.

What does the law say?

According to the law, if a burglar enters your home you are within your rights to defend yourself and others using "reasonable" force.

This definition of reasonable can include householders arming themselves in self-defence if they believe their life to be in danger, but ultimately, it would be for a court to decide.

The government now plans a change in the law to make it clear to householders that, when it comes to burglary, the law is on their side.

According to comments made by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling last year, householders who react with force when confronted by burglars are to get more legal protection.

Householders "victims not criminals"

Speaking at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham last October, Grayling said: "None of us really know how we would react if someone broke into our house.

"You might well hit out in the heat of the moment, without thinking of anything but protecting your loved ones. And right now you're still not sure the law is on your side.

"I think householders acting instinctively and honestly in self-defence are victims not criminals. They should be treated that way.

Grayling said: "I will shortly bring forward a change to the law.

"It will mean that even if a householder faced with that terrifying situation uses force that in the cold light of day might seem over the top, unless their response is grossly disproportionate, the law will be on their side."

Rise in burglaries in summer

According to home insurance claims data from Confused.com there are more claims for thefts from the home during the summer months than in winter.

This could be down to the fact that more homes are left unoccupied over the summer as people go on holidays.

Nearly a quarter of burglary victims - 23 per cent - were on holiday when their home was broken into, Confused.com's poll found.

The increase in burglaries in summer may also be attributed to a more relaxed attitude by householders when it comes to home security.

Some 27 per cent of burglaries occur as a result of the intruder entering through an open door or window, our research found.

Prevention is key when it comes to burglary

Gareth Lane, head of home insurance at Confused.com, says prevention is key when it comes to burglary.

"Our research shows the extremes that some householders would go to in order to protect their property from intruders.

"However, while it's natural for many to look out for their family and their belongings, we do not recommend anyone resorts to violence as you could be putting yourself and others at risk.

"It is far better to ensure that you have the maximum amount of home security that you can.

"Carrying out simple security measures, such as keeping doors and windows locked, can help ensure householders and their possessions are kept safe."

What do you think?

Do you have a household item you would use as a weapon to fend off burglars?

Do you welcome a change in the law to protect householders who use force against burglars from prosecution?

We want to hear from you! You can share your views on the message board below.


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Naphtalia Loderick

Naphtalia Loderick

Naphtalia Loderick reports on all things personal finance at Confused.com. She started out on a weekly newspaper, via a national news agency and a stint in the fun but ‘not as glamorous as it appears on screen’ world of TV at the BBC researching consumer films for The One Show.

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