READING Council is urging residents going away for Christmas to ensure they check their alarms and set up a trusted key holder – or potentially face a hefty charge.
Last Christmas the Council’s noise nuisance team were called out nearly every day to deal with house and car alarms – usually false alarms – where the residents responsible were absent.
The issue could have been avoided if people had tested their alarms to make sure they are in good working order and set up a trusted key holder who could respond when house or car alarms are triggered and the owners away.
If people have an alarm company they should make sure they provide the company with details of their trusted key holder – which could be a friend, neighbour or relative. Residents with alarm systems in their homes are also encouraged to check it is in good working order before going away.
When alarms are reported to the Council, officers always try to contact the owner in the first instance. Where officers have to organise for a contractor to enter a premises or vehicle to silence an alarm, the owner is charged for any costs incurred.
Cllr Sophia James, Reading’s Lead Member for Neighbourhoods and Communities, said: “So far this year Council officers have had over 45 call outs due to house and car alarms causing neighbourhood noise nuisance. This not only disturbs neighbours but can also result in a hefty cost for the alarm owners.
“Please plan for all eventualities when you go away and leave a key with a trusted friend, relative or neighbour and register these details with your alarm company. Make sure you also check your alarms are in good working order before you go away for the Christmas break.
“This would greatly reduce the risk of officers needing to gain entry to a property or vehicle to silence an alarm causing nuisance.”
To make a complaint about an alarm sounding, call the Council on 01189 373787.