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Tesco Store

Tesco Direct selling lock picks

Tesco Store
Tiverton: Tesco

This week it came to our attention that Tesco Direct were selling on their website, of all things, lock picks! Although the item was listed via the retailer Trove as part of the “Sellers at Tesco” section (“handpicked for you” according to the Tesco website), we and a number of other locksmiths were shocked that Tesco had allowed the item to be listed in the first place. Locksmithing is not regulated in the UK and the sale of locksmith tools is not controlled, but it’s not just a cut and dried legal issue. Surely it is a matter of responsibility for a retailer like Tesco to ban the sale of such things on their site to the general public. The listing stated that the tool was “not distributed or intended for illegal use” – acknowledging that it could indeed be used in that manner.

Sadly, Tesco aren’t the first to allow sellers to list for sale tools which should be restricted. There are a surprising number of such tools available on Amazon and elsewhere. eBay do not allow the listing of locksmith tools or lock picks, but Amazon do not appear to have such a policy. They even offer a fulfillment service, which means that when an order is placed the original seller doesn’t need to have any contact with the buyer at all – the sale is processed through Amazon, who ship directly from their warehouse to anyone with a credit card.

Trading locksmiths can (and do) purchase tools from legitimate sources – trade suppliers who vet their customers and insist on trade references. There is absolutely no need or reason for locksmith tools to be sold to the general public.

After campaigning by the Master Locksmiths’ Association and others, the tool was pulled from sale on Tesco Direct this morning. However, similar items remain listed on Amazon.

You might wonder how this affects you – but if tools like these can be easily purchased by criminals, we will start to see a rise in burglaries where there was no apparent forced entry. Insurance won’t pay out in these cases. Tesco sells home insurance – we wonder if they would pay out? We doubt it.

The good news is that there are locks on the market which are very high security, and extremely difficult to open non-destructively even to the best locksmiths. If you live in the North or East London areas, why not give us a call on 020 8883 1555 and we can advise you how best to secure your home.

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Photo © Martin Bodman and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.