Best security measures for your livery yard – By Dr Steffan George


Should we be cutting back on security to save costs?

While security is often one of the first things livery yard owners cut back on, Dr Steffan George of the Master Locksmith Association – the leading trade association for the locksmith industry – explains why this could be highly detrimental. Rural areas present the greatest opportunity for thieves because of isolated houses and buildings, lower lighting – especially during autumn and winter – fewer witnesses, and an abundance of expensive equipment. In addition to this, many livery yard owners are being tempted to cut costs by buying and fitting cheap locks. Unfortunately fitting incorrect or low quality products can not only undermine security, (especially as thieves are always on the lookout for worn locks and easy entry points), it can affect insurance premiums and cover. While security comes at a cost, it isn’t as great as the one faced when your yard or outhouses are targeted by thieves, which is why it’s important to regularly review security around your premises and invest in good quality equipment. Hiring a local, vetted and inspected professional to review your security and install approved products could also save a lot of money in the long term, as many locksmiths offer security assessments free of charge or for a low cost.

Security is important year-round, but even more so in the winter months when livery yard crime increases. It’s vital to remain vigilant and implement the best possible security measures – but what are they? Knowing which hardware to invest in and what you need to look out for isn’t always easy. From physical security such as chains and padlocks to the various forms of electronic security such as CCTV, there are a lot of options on the market, some of which may be costly, but choosing wisely could save you thousands. The Master Locksmiths Association (MLA), the leading trade association for the locksmithing profession, have extensive experience in securing buildings and land of all kinds. Here, the Association’s development director, Dr Steffan George, tells us what the most important considerations are:

The quality of your security hardware. High quality locks, chains and padlocks will prove an investment. Make sure you use products that have been approved by an independent product testing house to provide peace of mind – look for the Sold Secure approval mark (see Where appropriate use good quality padlocks with heavy duty hasp and staple on stable and outbuilding doors.

How you fit your locks. Yes, this does make a big difference! Locks should be professionally fitted directly to the door, and ideally there should be two, equally spaced from top to bottom.

Controlling access to livery yards. You need to limit the amount of people who can gain access to the yard – the less people, the less likely theft is. Plus, if an incident does occur, it’s easier to deduce who is involved.

Securing your tack room and keeping it in good condition. Tack rooms are easy targets as they present thieves with a relatively low risk and high gain opportunity.

Store vulnerable items securely, away from obvious view, while items like ladders and shovels that could help thieves break into other areas of your yard should also be secured.

Who will be fitting your security hardware. Don’t specify and fit locks or undertake repairs yourself as fitting the wrong products can undermine security and affect insurance premiums and cover should the worst happen – get a professional MLA licensed locksmith involved.

How frequently you perform updates and maintenance checks. This is vital as rusted locks, chains, hasps and staples, cracked panes of glass and rotted frames and sills are all features that opportunistic thieves look out for, so it’s essential to perform regular and thorough maintenance checks. Getting a professional to help out with this is also a good idea, usually locksmiths are able to carry out a tailored security assessment on your property and land, advising on suitable measures for both safety and security.

Surveillance and alarms. Fit alarms to outbuildings, invest in outdoor security lighting – such as dusk till dawn and motion sensor lighting and install CCTV and intruder alert systems. Surveillance is an increasingly popular measure, along with property marking/tagging systems.

Invisible marker. Consider marking your tack with a forensic marker so that it can be identified as your personal property. There are also several devices are available for securing saddles to racks, while steel tack safes, which can be padlocked, are another good deterrent and useful for storing bridles and grooming kit. Taking the above precautions and investing in the right equipment will put you in the best position when it comes to protecting your horses and livery yard. If you would like further advice and input from a professional, contact your local MLA-approved locksmith.