Faulty alarms blight angering neighbours

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HUNDREDS of complaints are being made to Sheffield Council each year about nuisance burglar alarms - and the authority has now launched a campaign which aims to tackle the problem.

Officials last year dealt with 382 reports of alarms being activated accidentally or due to faults, making the issue one of the biggest noise problems reported to the council.

Now a week-long campaign is taking place in the city next week to highlight the issue as part of national Noise Action Week, which runs from May 23 to 27.

Avril Hawkins, environmental protection district officer, said: “Alarms can cause a nuisance to other residents if they are ringing either constantly or intermittently without cause, and we are unable to contact either the owner or occupant of a property, or a registered key holder.

“If an alarm is ringing and causing a nuisance, we will visit the complainant to witness the impact of the alarm sounding on that resident from within their property.

“If the alarm has been ringing for more than 20 minutes and is deemed to be a statutory nuisance we will endeavour to locate the owner or occupant of the property where the alarm is or any registered key holders.

“If we are unable to do this and the alarm is still ringing then a Noise Abatement Notice will be served.”

Ms Hawkins warned the council will then take action - sending out an engineer to silence the alarm.

“This may involve the cutting or removing of wires from inside the alarm box. All costs incurred with this work will be recovered from the owner or occupant of the offending property,” she warned.

The council is urging households with burglar alarms to register with its Environmental Protection Service so that officials can get in touch easily if they have any complaints.

Residents can call 0114 273 4651 and request an alarm registration form, or download one from www.sheffield.gov.uk/burglaralarms.

The registration form includes space for key holder contact details for friends or family members who could silence the alarm if the householder is away.