To celebrate Home Security Month we’ve been quizzing our locksmiths members on their top tips for home security, the ups and downs of their job and the weirdest situations locksmithing has gotten them into.
Our latest interview is with Matt Stokes of Dennis Security in East London. Matt has locksmithing in his blood – he’s a third generation locksmith whose mum, Val Stokes, has recently retired from her role as president of the MLA and he recently won the Nigel Rose Bowl award for best exam results. Here, Matt answers five questions to give us an insight to his daily life.
1. What’s the one security mistake you find homeowners often make?
Not locking their UPVC door correctly. Most people either just pull the door shut or pull it shut and lift the handle, but with most UPVC doors that doesn’t lock it. You need to lift the handle, turn the key and remove the key from the door to secure it properly. Leaving keys in locks or on hall tables where they can be seen through letter flaps or windows is another common security mistake.
2. Why did you choose to become a locksmith?
I’m a third generation locksmith, following in the footsteps of my dad and granddad. I’ve been involved with locks for as long as I can remember – working Saturdays and school holidays – I’ve always loved every minute!
3. What are the best and worst parts of the job?
The hours can be very unsocial, many a time I’ve had to cancel a night out or been late somewhere because I’ve had to get a job completed or ensure a building is secure.
The best bit is that every day is different. I get to travel around the country and even travel abroad – I’ve been in buildings and seen things most people will never get to experience
4. What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever been called out to?
Working in London out of hours and on call outs you get to see some sights. It’s amazing the ‘other’ worlds you see at 3am on a Saturday morning. One of my recent jobs was in a sewage works – for a week… that was different!
5. What would your one top tip for Home Security Month be?
Firstly I would say always use an MLA-approved locksmith and secondly make sure you use any security features that you have on your home. It’s better to use them and never need them than to not use them and wish you had!