UK: “Shed owners warned wire on windows could hurt burglars”

by Walter Olson on February 12, 2011

Kent and Surrey, England: “Police have told residents to stop putting wire mesh on their garden shed windows – because they could be sued if a burglar is injured.” [Telegraph]

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March 3 roundup
03.03.11 at 12:10 am


1 Doug 02.12.11 at 9:29 am

frankly, i am amazed that people in England are allowed to have sheds. Just leave the stuff outside in view for the goods to be stolen.

2 L Nettles 02.12.11 at 12:06 pm

In that in the Restatement (Third) Torts or will we have to wait for the Fourth Restatement
(November 5 roundup)

3 L Nettles 02.12.11 at 12:07 pm

I’m meant February 5 roundup

4 John Burgess 02.12.11 at 2:04 pm

I guess that’s it for glass, too, huh? Sharp, pointy, nasty glass.

I wonder what the Guild of Glaziers will have to say about that?

5 bradley13 02.13.11 at 3:45 pm

Doug, it’s not so different in the USA. Did you know Arnold Schwarzenegger, back when he was a starving wannabe actor, worked as a builder? One story of that time was when he was working on a tall wall around some estate. This wall was something like 10 feet tall, clearly meant to be unclimbable – and to ensure that it stayed so, he mortared broken glass on the top of it. He was reportedly shocked when he was told that he couldn’t do this, as trespassers might hurt themselves and sue the owner.

There have also been less egregious cases, where suits did happen. Seems to me that there should be clear legislation: upon criminal trespass, the criminal surrenders their right to bodily safety. Castle doctrine is one aspect of this – wire mesh, broken glass and other passive defensive measures are another.

6 Rebecca 02.14.11 at 8:45 am

” upon criminal trespass, the criminal surrenders their right to bodily safety”
I am curious as to why it is not already so?

7 Robin 02.14.11 at 2:11 pm

I could see an argument against setting “traps” or other somewhat dangerous configurations, although I’m not sure where barbed wire would fall into the mix. However, the wire mesh on the windows is totally baffling to me. If anything, it makes things safer. The authorities seem to be saying that you cannot have unshuttered windows. It is certainly a topsy turvy world they’re describing.

8 mojo 02.14.11 at 3:22 pm

Traps are unlawful because they’re non-selective, they’ll hit anybody that trips them. I suppose you could apply the same “non-selective” criteria to wall-top glass and barbed wire. But you’d be an idiot to do so, in my opinion. Passive deterrence is not the same as active but non-selective defense.

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