• We have updated the guidelines regarding posting political content: please see the stickied thread on Website Issues.

Is It Illegal To Embed Glass In Your Wall To Deter Would-Be Intruders?

As I said the 'acceptance of risk' thing (volenti non fit injuria - had to look that up) is a legitimate defence for someone who is accused of negligence in such circumstances - but it's by no means a get out of jail card.

When all is said and done though - I strongly suspect the idea that the courts are heaving with ne'er do wells successfully suing innocent homeowners for broken ankles sustained while nicking their car is largely a media construct.
But my point was, does a sign warning you make any difference?
Will the homeowner/authority be less likely to be prosecuted if there is a sign saying my dog bites or deep water for eg.
 
The art would be to design a non-obvious booby trap containing no lethal parts. Like a tripwire connected to the airing cupboard, triggering a mechanism which causes a pre-rigged white sheet to fly across the landing while at the same time dropping a heavy weight on the cat, causing an unearthly yowling.

Yes, constable, I know – what are the chances of him having a heart attack halfway up our stairs?

Ooh - and the look on his face?!

No, nothing seems to have been taken. Although…come to think of it, I’ve not seen the cat for a while..
 
The art would be to design a non-obvious booby trap containing no lethal parts. Like a tripwire connected to the airing cupboard, triggering a mechanism which causes a pre-rigged white sheet to fly across the landing while at the same time dropping a heavy weight on the cat, causing an unearthly yowling.

Yes, constable, I know – what are the chances of him having a heart attack halfway up our stairs?

Ooh - and the look on his face?!

No, nothing seems to have been taken. Although…come to think of it, I’ve not seen the cat for a while..
Something like this would be ideal;
mt.png
 
I wonder if there's 1 law for wealthy people, and another for the ordinary people?
I've noticed that there are plenty of expensive properties that have barbed wire, electric fences and glass on top of walls.
How do they avoid a lawsuit or a takedown order?
 
I wonder if there's 1 law for wealthy people, and another for the ordinary people?
I've noticed that there are plenty of expensive properties that have barbed wire, electric fences and glass on top of walls.
How do they avoid a lawsuit or a takedown order?

With the proviso that, yes, money makes everything easier - it might be better to find examples of this actually happening, before we invent yet another conspiracy out of whole cloth.

Electric fences are legal for general domestic use in England - you can buy parts from Screwfix. Given that they are controllable, they are probably a far safer option than barbed wire and broken glass. There are - as there should be - certain regs, but they aren't actually particularly onerous.

That said, I'm not sure how effective a deterrent to trespassers they would be - given that their general use is for the control of livestock and pets, so they tend to be aimed at low level movement. If you wanted to go large, planning becomes the actual issue (and yes, rich people do get refused planning permission - I know, because I've helped make that happen).
 
Last edited:
I wonder if there's 1 law for wealthy people, and another for the ordinary people?
Well it certainly happens in other areas of the legal system (the wonderful Katie Price is just one example off the top of my head, along with numerous footballists and 'celebrities'), so I'm pretty sure that it wouldn't be too difficult to find other examples concerning this topic as well.
Playing golf with the Chief Constable is probably the best way to start.
 
Well it certainly happens in other areas of the legal system (the wonderful Katie Price is just one example off the top of my head...

If you're referring to the issue that hit the news just before the pandemic - Katie Price was in fact ordered by her local council to demolish the offending structure. The pandemic, and possible appeal stage, might have delayed the process - but I can't find any evidence that the order has ever been rescinded.

In fact - if you enter the words 'planning permission' and 'demolish' into a search engine you're going to find a list with quite a lot of examples of higher end earners being refused planning permission and/or being ordered to take down the offending structures.
 
Last edited:
If you're referring to the issue that hit the news just before the pandemic - Katie Price was in fact ordered by her local council to demolish the offending structure. The pandemic, and possible appeal stage, might have delayed the process - but I can't find any evidence that the order has ever been rescinded.
I was referring to all the serious driving offences that she's got away with over the years.
 
l wasn’t aware that she’d got away with many of them.

The issue of appropriate punishment is another matter…

maximus otter
Well I'd definitely consider not being rogered in the showers by the sisters from C block to be 'getting away with it' because I damn sure that if I had committed the offences that she has, I'd have a very sore bottom by now.
 
I was told that a 'beware of the dog' sign may do more harm than good, because basically you are acknowledging that you own a dog which is liable to bite. Therefore anyone on your property, who gets bitten by your dog, (postman, delivery person, visitor) could say that you had prior knowledge of owning a dangerous dog and failed to do enough to restrain the beast.

If you don't have such a sign you can say that the dog has never shown signs of violence before and was startled by the sudden arrival of said postman, delivery person or visitor.
 
As far as I'm aware, posties are warned of properties displaying 'Beware of The Dog' signs, and are told they can refuse to deliver to those properties unless provision is made, such as a potal box on the outside of the property.
As far as denying any foreknowledge of a dogs ferocity, in law it just doesn't wash - all dogs are capable of unexpected behaviour; it is the responsibility of the owner to make allowances or put safeguards in place. Ultimately the owner has a legal duty to have their dogs under reasonable control.

I have a sign saying "Beware of The Dogs - They may get loose!" This isn't to guard against the dogs attacking but them getting loose and onto the street. This, apparently, is an 'acceptable' warning as it's indicating the possible consequences of not 'being aware' of the presence of my dogs. It is not using them as a threat of harm. I will still be held responsible if they did attack anyone - my dogs, my responsibility to have them under control - but the above warning might act as a deterrent against intruders, without actually threatening harm.

There was an old case - in the U.S. - of a couple owning a 'holiday cabin' which was broken into on a regular basis. The owner decided to rig up a booby-trap involving a shotgun aimed low inside the house and triggered by a string in a dark corridor. Two youths broke in, one tripped over the wire, setting off the shotgun and blowing his face off! The other youth had his lower leg shredded and, after getting medical attention, lost the limb.
The homeowner claimed it justifiable - the regularity of break-ins - and his right to defend his property with a gun. The death was unintended; the gun was aimed low to 'wound not kill'. The defence lost on two counts; firstly, he was not present when the weapon was discharged and so wasn't used as personal protection. Secondly, while he hadn't intended a lethal shot (by a low aim), he knew that the gun could potentially kill. By not being there, he was accepting the risk of a fatal shot. I believe he was prosecuted for second degree manslaughter (i.e. he didn't intend to commit murder but knew his actions might result in a death).
A long stretch, I know, and in a different country, but it illustrates the problems of boobytraps or alledgedly non-lethal defences. You might not intend to do permanent injury or even kill, but if you actually and intentionally set a harmful device then you are accepting responsibility for any unintentional consequences (E.G. a burglar/teenager/10-11 year old climbing over the wall, slipping, and opening a major blood vessel, bleeding out quickly). You might say "they shouldn't have been there" but you in fact killed a person.
If you're happy to kill someone - especially not face-to-face - then you must accept the consequences and not try to argue against prosecution.

I fully understand the frustrations of those who've been burgled or been a victim of vandalism (I've had both), but there's a big difference between standing up to an intruder and doing anything you can to protect you and yours, and just hurting the criminal for committing the crime. That's not justice nor fair.
I like the idea, though, of making 'shards' of coloured rubber and gluing them to a wall. Expect a call from the coppers but, if truly non-lethal, then it counts as a 'deterrent' along the lines of smartpaint etc.
 
But my point was, does a sign warning you make any difference?
Will the homeowner/authority be less likely to be prosecuted if there is a sign saying my dog bites or deep water for eg.
No sign or contract conditions should be able to over ride common law negligence. So those signs you often see stating basically "we won't be responsible for beggar all" are meaningless if negligence is involved. I'd be inclined not to use the "Beware of the dog" sign rather use "Be aware that there is a canine on the premises".
I always guffaw when I pass a sign on a local premises - "Trespassers will be shot. Survivors will be shot again".
 
No sign or contract conditions should be able to over ride common law negligence. So those signs you often see stating basically "we won't be responsible for beggar all" are meaningless if negligence is involved...

Same with those disclaimers people are sometimes asked to sign - for instance, when doing activities like white water rafting, bungee jumping, paintballing.

It's really not a bad idea to get people to sign something acknowledging that they understand the risks involved - but as a legal defence you may as well hang disclaimers up in a toilet roll dispenser. If you've been obviously negligent, they were never going to work as a get out of jail card anyway. Even if you have not been obviously negligent, once an enterprise comes under scrutiny after a serious accident it's virtually inevitable that even the most diligent of owners will have missed something that could have been done better. That's why you need shit-hot insurance.
 
Last edited:
One postman regularly refuses to deliver my mail. My dog barks. A lot. She doesn't bite - although she would if you climbed through the window, but she makes an awful lot of noise. This postman is terrified of her and I often get post with labels on that say 'couldn't deliver because dog loose on premise'. All the other postmen just shout 'oh shut up!' and push the mail through anyway. I perfectly understand his fear, having been bitten many times myself when I had a paper round, and he's quite entitled to be a bit wary.

There isn't anywhere to shut her, so I can't keep her away from the front door!
 
No sign or contract conditions should be able to over ride common law negligence. So those signs you often see stating basically "we won't be responsible for beggar all" are meaningless if negligence is involved. I'd be inclined not to use the "Beware of the dog" sign rather use "Be aware that there is a canine on the premises".
I always guffaw when I pass a sign on a local premises - "Trespassers will be shot. Survivors will be shot again".
Years ago I worked for a guy who had previously worked for Severn Trent and regarding the barriers/cones etc that they put around the road/pavement works overnight (or more often for weeks and weeks these days), was that if someone comes along and kicks them all down (a uniquely British pastime I feel ?), and then someone else walks along and falls in, they (Severn Trent) can still be prosecuted.
 
Years ago I worked for a guy who had previously worked for Severn Trent and regarding the barriers/cones etc that they put around the road/pavement works overnight (or more often for weeks and weeks these days), was that if someone comes along and kicks them all down (a uniquely British pastime I feel ?), and then someone else walks along and falls in, they (Severn Trent) can still be prosecuted.
I'd guess they could be prosecuted, but the prosecution may not be successful if Severn Trent could show that they had done everything possible to prevent accident (cones, signage, taping area off, etc). Because otherwise there's nothing stopping someone hell bent on running a compensation claim to the wire from removing, say, a cone, and then 'injuring themselves'.
 
No sign or contract conditions should be able to over ride common law negligence. So those signs you often see stating basically "we won't be responsible for beggar all" are meaningless if negligence is involved. I'd be inclined not to use the "Beware of the dog" sign rather use "Be aware that there is a canine on the premises".
I always guffaw when I pass a sign on a local premises - "Trespassers will be shot. Survivors will be shot again".
As far as I'm aware, no sign negates common law. It might be required by it, to act as information or to comply with legal responsibility.
In an extreme case, if you had a sign saying "Inside this container is incredibly poisonous material - do not open!", it doesn't negate the responsibility of that owner to 'allow' it to be opened. They are responsible for storage and safety of anyone. If, on the other hand, the sign was accompanied by several very secure locks, then the chance of accidental exposure (say, by someone who cannot read English) was minimised and would be taken as 'reasonable actions to prevent accident'.
There was a case (you can tell the kind of videos I watch) of a small hospital being shut down in a Brasilian town. The whole place was, over years, stripped down by the owners, leaving only the stuff that would be too expensive to dispose of properly. One was a medical x-ray machine. Along came a couple of guys - owners of a scrapyard - who on seeing this massive machine, labelled in English (which they didn't read), thought to take to the yard, cut it up, and sell as metal. It still contained a dangerous lump of radioactive material - caesium chloride. Ultimately it was the owners fault, not the scrappies, as the owners 'allowed' it to be stolen.
 
I recall a few years back there was an online craze amongst some teenagers to take a selfie hanging over the edge of some tall building or structure. A construction company was prosecuted after a boy of 15 or 16 fell off the partially completed office block. He had cut through the fencing and climbed up the building illegally but as I recall the company were still fined for inadequate safeguarding.
 
I have no idea about anywhere else (speaking to the title of this thread) but yes it is illegal in Texas. It is ok for someone to stand on your porch uninvited, you can call the cops, but if you harm the person you will go to jail. Now if he comes inside your door, then you can shoot him. Every state in the U.S. has different laws about that. I have no idea about any other countries
 
Back in the 70s in one of the more anarchic Motorbike mags (possibly Bike magazine?) There was a short article talking to a biker who had lost a couple of custom bikes to thieves and he was moaning that nothing much was done to stop them in his view. He decided on his latest bike to weld a tapped thread into the base of his petrol tank and screwed a spark plug into it. When he left his bike parked he would swop the HT lead from the engine spark plug to the tank plug so if anyone tried to start it -boom.
I don't know if it was just a made up story or not but I think there were pictures of the bike and the mod. I certainly could never trust myself not to forget to swop the lead though.
 
I recall a few years back there was an online craze amongst some teenagers to take a selfie hanging over the edge of some tall building or structure. A construction company was prosecuted after a boy of 15 or 16 fell off the partially completed office block. He had cut through the fencing and climbed up the building illegally but as I recall the company were still fined for inadequate safeguarding.
It’s a problem we constantly encounter in the construction industry. We do all that is reasonably practicable to prevent intruders, CCTV, human guards, 3 metre hoardings, but, as my Dad used to say, locks are only designed to keep honest people out, and if someone is intent on breaking in they will find a way.
Often it is urban explorers who take “nothing but a photo, leave nothing but a footprint”. The get a thrill from climbing tower cranes. When we catch them we call the police who, time and time again, will wag a warning finger in their face then release them to return a few nights later and try again. If one was to fall and die, we would be prosecuted (after employing a wet and dry vacuum to clean up the mess).
The urban explorers generally do not cause a problem, but one of our jobs up north very recently had intruders vandalise and spray paint (tag) the emergency generators installed on the roof, broke into several toolboxes and stole tradesmen’s personal tools, then set fire to a couple of site cabins that housed the welfare for the workers.
We had an issue a while back when constructing a large building next to the Barbican housing estate in central London. The residents continually moaned that our lighting was impacting on their sleep. No matter we only employed low energy LED lights and were quite a way from them, whilst an old sixties tower block was right on their doorstep, fully illuminated all night. Our lighting was, in their eyes, the problem! I had a major disagreement with the project director who ordered that all lighting, including access lighting, should be switched off during the night, even when I pointed out that should an intruder trip and fall because it was dark, we would be held accountable and could be subject to legal action. He ignored me, had the lights turned off and I still regret the fact that no scrote ever broke in, fell, and broke his legs.
We safety managers never give the old “I told you so” speech, but we are masters at the smug grin.
 
It’s a problem we constantly encounter in the construction industry. We do all that is reasonably practicable to prevent intruders, CCTV, human guards, 3 metre hoardings, but, as my Dad used to say, locks are only designed to keep honest people out, and if someone is intent on breaking in they will find a way.
Often it is urban explorers who take “nothing but a photo, leave nothing but a footprint”. The get a thrill from climbing tower cranes. When we catch them we call the police who, time and time again, will wag a warning finger in their face then release them to return a few nights later and try again. If one was to fall and die, we would be prosecuted (after employing a wet and dry vacuum to clean up the mess).
The urban explorers generally do not cause a problem, but one of our jobs up north very recently had intruders vandalise and spray paint (tag) the emergency generators installed on the roof, broke into several toolboxes and stole tradesmen’s personal tools, then set fire to a couple of site cabins that housed the welfare for the workers.
We had an issue a while back when constructing a large building next to the Barbican housing estate in central London. The residents continually moaned that our lighting was impacting on their sleep. No matter we only employed low energy LED lights and were quite a way from them, whilst an old sixties tower block was right on their doorstep, fully illuminated all night. Our lighting was, in their eyes, the problem! I had a major disagreement with the project director who ordered that all lighting, including access lighting, should be switched off during the night, even when I pointed out that should an intruder trip and fall because it was dark, we would be held accountable and could be subject to legal action. He ignored me, had the lights turned off and I still regret the fact that no scrote ever broke in, fell, and broke his legs.
We safety managers never give the old “I told you so” speech, but we are masters at the smug grin.
Just as an aside, a former employer tracked down some high profile urban explorers who were constantly intruding onto their sites; some of the tallest in the city of London.
They then spent a small fortune taking these recidivists to court and had an injunction served on them in an attempt to stop the guys/gals from entering any of their sites.
I believed that had the desired result.
 
It is ok for someone to stand on your porch uninvited, you can call the cops, but if you harm the person you will go to jail. Now if he comes inside your door, then you can shoot him. Every state in the U.S. has different laws about that. I have no idea about any other countries
You have the 'stand your ground' law there?
 
Just as an aside, a former employer tracked down some high profile urban explorers who were constantly intruding onto their sites; some of the tallest in the city of London.
They then spent a small fortune taking these recidivists to court and had an injunction served on them in an attempt to stop the guys/gals from entering any of their sites.
I believed that had the desired result.
I still really don't get why trespass is not a criminal offence and not just a civil one, even when sites appear abandoned. Plenty of You Tubes showing the activities of these explorers which attract vast numbers of views and people egging them on to do more. It's as though You Tube are condoning these activities which could lead to a private prosecution. Some of the sites they explore look particularly hazardous-semi collapsed buildings and similar. One wonders how an injury suffered on these sites would be viewed.
 
You have the 'stand your ground' law there?
I guess in the UK most don't know what the law is regarding this type of incident. I read somewhere that UK law requires a potential victim to retreat where it is safe to do so,( presumably not just attack someone they perceive to be a threat). A complex situation.
 
I guess in the UK most don't know what the law is regarding this type of incident. I read somewhere that UK law requires a potential victim to retreat where it is safe to do so,( presumably not just attack someone they perceive to be a threat). A complex situation.
I know the laws are different in different states, but I'm surprised that someone can stand on your porch uninvited (in Texas) and you can't do anything.
 
I know the laws are different in different states, but I'm surprised that someone can stand on your porch uninvited (in Texas) and you can't do anything.

That's Florida. You can shoot someone for looking like they once read a book in Florida.
 
Back
Top