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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 214

Date:- 14 August 2005

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A new survey by Prudential Home Insurance has revealed that householders are not doing enough to safeguard their homes from burglary. Despite the fact that 1-in-5 have experienced a burglary, they currently spend on average less than £25 a year on home security and 22% of the nation is spending absolutely nothing. 

To ensure homeowners don't add to the statistics, Prudential has teamed up with a reformed burglar to provide some essential tips to keep their homes off a burglar's radar. Mark Whiteley, who now lives a very different life as an actor and writer, offers some insight into the house thief's mind:- "Burglars are opportunists who like an easy life; they go for places which are easy to access so a few simple things can put them off trying straight away. My most important piece of advice is to try and break in to your own home and see how easy it is. This will identify your home's weak security spots. 

I used to make a lot of money from stolen power tools and bikes. One deterrent is to install sturdy locks on sheds and garages - thieves would much prefer to not have the trouble of entering your home at all and still walk-away with the jackpot. Also, don't tempt burglars by leaving portable valuables such as iPods, mobile phones and PlayStations on view from outside the house - if you're going out, hide these things away."

On a positive note, the survey proves neighbourhood spirit still lives on, 78% of those surveyed confirming they asked a neighbour to keep an eye on their home when they were on holiday.

Nigel Charlesworth, Prudential Home Insurance spokesman commented:- "For as little as £1302 a homeowner can install a complete burglar alarm system, together with motion-sensored security lights and British standard or mortice locks. By taking action before they leave British holidaymakers should be able to leave their home unoccupied this summer safe in the knowledge that they have taken steps to outwit the burglars." 

Worryingly, the survey revealed that 27.9% of those surveyed do not know if the locks on their front door or windows comply with the requirements of their home insurance provider, leaving them at risk of invalidating their policy. 

Charlesworth continued:- "Although the best advice is to avoid being burgled altogether, homeowners should also regularly check your home contents insurance policy to make sure it is up-to-date and that you have specified expensive items such as jewellery or bikes. This will help to ensure that should the worst happen, you are at the very least covered for all your belongings."

10 tips from Prudential and former burglar, Mark Whiteley:

1. Think like a thief - try to break into your own home.

2. "Rob me please!" - don't kit out a burglar with the tools for the job. Keep ladders and tools locked up.

3. Keep hedges low, particularly at the front of your home.

4. Lock all doors and windows when you go out - even if it's just for a few 

5. Install simple security devices to deter would-be criminals.

6. Don't underestimate the power of your pooch - burglars don't like strange dogs

7. If you're going away on holiday make sure your home looks occupied.

8. Keep your valuables out of sight.

9. Mark and log your valuables - and take a photograph of them too

10. And last - but not least - don't buy stolen goods.

KEY FINDINGS from Prudential survey:-

Only 12% have a burglar alarm in working order

49.2% admit to worry about being burgled, amongst them:

24.7% believe they could do more to make their property more secure

12.4% are concerned because neighbouring properties have been burgled in the past year

4.9% leave their property empty for the majority of the time

92.2% would investigate if they saw something untoward taking place at a neighbour's property

Over 80% have installed locks on all the windows of their property

Almost 3 in 5 have installed security lights

13% do not have a home contents insurance policy

Prudential claims data reveals:-

A 30% rise in burglary claims in the summer months (the data reveals an average of 10 burglary claims a day in August compared with an average of 7 a day in winter months)

The average cost of a burglary claim is £1,829 (Prudential claims data, 2004)

Animal extravaganza

PET parades and a barbecue are just some of the treats on offer at Walton Hall Children's Zoo's animal extravaganza on Sunday 14 August - and everyone is invited to come along. The zoo rangers and Friends of Walton Estate have organised the event, called Animal Ark and Pets Parade, to celebrate the unveiling of the new gates for the children's zoo and to view progress to date on the refurbishment work being carried out thanks to funding from the Council and
Waste Recycling Environment Limited (WREN).

The new set of gates is the first project to be funded by the zoo's Animal Adoption Scheme, where people can adopt an animal for just £12 per year, and adopters past and present have been formally invited to thank them for all their support. The pet parade will give owners a chance to show off their pets and animal knowledge in a competition. There are 2 age groups; age 7 and under and 8 to 16. Registration for the competition will take place between 1pm and 2.30pm on the day and there will be prizes for the winners and certificates for all entrants. Animal Ark aims to help people learn about different pets and there will be displays and experts on hand, including the RSPCA, Ferret Rescue and Talons Birds of Prey, to offer advice on a wide variety of animals. 

The Mayor of Warrington Cllr Hans Mundry is also holding a barbecue in support of his charity appeal between noon and 4pm with entertainment from
the Heswall Concert Band between 1pm and 4pm.

Keith Inman, Chairman of the Friends of Walton Estate, said:- "This is a big event for us and we would like to thank all our animal adopters past and present for contributing to the new gates. We have arranged all sorts of 'animal activities' to ensure that it is a great day out and we want everyone to come along and join in the fun. Promoting animal care is our aim, which is why we have also invited along animal experts to give people advice and we hope lots of children and young people enter the pet parade."

Contact the rangers on 01925 601617 for more information about the event.

Historic halls on show

LIVERPOOL is opening the doors to 2 of its most historic buildings. From August 15, visitors will have a week-long opportunity to take a glimpse at the lavish interiors of St George's Hall and Liverpool Town Hall.

Liverpool Town Hall was built in 1754, making it one of the city's oldest buildings. As well as being the seat of Liverpool's political administration, the Town Hall also provides the setting for a huge range of events - from civic receptions to weddings.

St George's Hall is one of the UK's finest neo-classical buildings, and arguably Liverpool's most dramatic structure. It sits at the top of William Brown Street, which last year was included in Liverpool's World Heritage site. The Hall was completed in 1854, and remains a prominent reminder of the city's prosperity in the 19th century, when it was the 'gateway to the new world'.

The interior of the building is dominated by the Great Hall, which is a staggering 169 foot long and features a floor of intricate Minton tiles which can be viewed through a special vision panel.

Between 15 August to 20 August, visitors can take advantage of free entry to the Great Hall and the exhibitions. On Saturday August 20, St George's Hall will ring to the sound of hourly organ recitals and choral music, while community historian Steve Binns will hold a talk on the Hall's past as a court of law.

Councillor Warren Bradley, the city council's executive member for culture, said:- "Liverpool's architecture is among the finest in the country, and both St George's Hall and the Town Hall are stunning examples. With so much redevelopment and regeneration taking place in Liverpool at the moment, it's important to remember that these historic buildings have shaped the city's landscape for well over one hundred years. The open days are a great opportunity for the people of Liverpool to see what lies behind the façade of these Liverpool institutions."

Tours for St George's Hall can be booked via Liverpool Direct on (0151) 233 2008 or at the Queen Square Tourist Information Centre. Tours for the Town Hall should be booked direct by calling (0151) 225 5530.

Letters to Editor:- "Meningitis Trust's cross Morecambe Bay walk"

"ON behalf of the Meningitis Trust I would like to thank all those people in the North West who took part in, or supported the Meningitis Trust's cross Morecambe Bay walk.

More then 250 people took part in the walk on Sunday 31 July 2005 and the funds raised from the event are expected to exceed a fantastic £5,000! The Meningitis Trust relies heavily on funds raised from events such as the Morecambe Bay walk, as they allow it to provide much needed support services - such as home visits and financial support grants - to thousands of families in the UK who are affected by meningitis every year.

I would particularly like to thank Grange-over-sands tourist information Manager and Meningitis Trust supporter Tracy Ingram for all the hard work she put in to organise this event. I would also like to thank the Queen's Guide to the sands Mr Cedric Robinson who led the walkers safely over the sands.

Yours faithfully, Christine Hughes, Regional Development Officer for the North West."

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