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Camden New Journal - by PAUL KEILTHY
Published: 21 June 2007
Key to estates security... £4.50 from a locksmith

New Journal reveals how ID thieves are able to raid tenants’ bins

FOR less than a fiver from any locksmith, would-be thieves can buy a standard key that opens hundreds of doors on housing estates throughout Camden, the New Journal can reveal.
The key opens caretakers’ cupboards and storerooms containing vital electrical circuit boxes and telephone exchanges.
But the greatest concern to residents is the access the key gives to communal bin collection areas, where they claim rubbish is already the target of ID fraudsters searching for financial data to use on spending sprees or to illegally register businesses, thought to be Britain’s fastest-growing crime.
Armed with a key that cost £4.50 from a Camden Town locksmith, the New Journal visited the Regent’s Park estate last week and found it fitted 21 doors, including security gates protecting residents’ storage areas and the communal bin area.
Council housing staff have since confirmed the same key fits similar doors on estates throughout Camden.
It opened the bin collection area in the estate’s Troutbeck block, which resident Maureen Titteris said was regularly rummaged by two strangers, who she blamed for a card-cloning attack in which £600 was taken from her account without authorisation.
She said: “The people searching the bins are the same people every day.
“I’ve pointed them out to the caretaker and he said he knows of them. You put the rubbish in and they rip every bag apart.
“There is no security here. The idea that these gates offer security when anyone can open them is a joke.”
A council press official said this week: “We recognise there’s a problem in certain areas of the borough, and where particular issues have been identified we have put in place a programme to replace locks and improve security.
“The new locks, which cannot be bought over the counter, have been installed at numerous locations across the council’s housing estates over the last three to four years and are making a difference.”
Fraudsters trawling through rubbish were a nationwide problem, she added.
“The council does as much as it can to protect residents from this type of activity but council tenants and people living in private residences need to take precautions when disposing of their rubbish,” she said.
“This could include shredding and then recycling bank statements.”

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