Lock Picking Kits: For Locksmiths or Burglars?

Press concerns over lock picking kits being sold on Amazon

A lock picking kit.
An ideal gift for a future locksmith or a thief? A lock picking kit similar to the one advertised on Amazon.com. Image by Dani Simmonds (via Shutterstock).

At this time of writing, Christmas is nearly seven weeks away. You may be wondering which presents to buy. Will it be socks again for Uncle Derek? A new PS4 for the children? Or will it be one of these lock picking kits they are flogging on Amazon from a tenner upwards?

The last named item caused more concern in Britain’s first and second biggest selling newspapers. Instead of the risk of epileptic shock by a video game console or how many poorly paid employees made your socks in Indonesia, they had a pop at our profession. What pricked their consciousness was a review on Amazon, left by an alleged burglar from the 26 April 2016.

Since the report was posted on the Daily Mail, John Daley’s comment on a lock picking kit (priced £13.97 including delivery) was deleted. On the 23 October 2016, a review from A Sud said:

“Done over three houses with this kit.

Works a treat and not too expensive to replace if the old bill confiscate your kit, whilst out looking at jobs.

Highly Recommended.

“Tealeaf Tony””

Whether he was being serious or facetious remains to be seen. Firstly, would a thief be happy to sign off with the name Tealeaf Tony? Not unless he wants to appear on Oxfordshire’s Dumbest Criminals (don’t panic, Channel 5, ITV or Sky haven’t commissioned it yet – if ever). Secondly, the ‘done three houses’ line could be taken with a degree of seriousness and convince the police. With the price of the lock picking kits being less than fourteen pounds, it is clear they are aimed at hobbyists.

For thieves or wannabe locksmiths?

Some of us may argue that lock picking kits are a gateway to criminal activity. On the other hand, they can be a satisfying challenge like The Times crossword puzzle. The £13.97 lock picking kit is one of 237 items by Lock Cowboy. There are 1,083 references to Lock Pick Set, and 2,669 results for Lock Picking on Amazon.co.uk.

Whatever you choose to buy this Christmas, we recommend making your own mind up. Keep in mind that in the UK, even possessing of a lock picking kit presumes intent to burgle. Perhaps the socks aren’t a bad idea after all.

CPPM Locksmiths, 01 November 2016.