Noise from car and burglar alarms can cause a great deal of distress and annoyance to the occupiers of neighbouring properties.
Allowing your house or car alarm to sound for a long period of time or on a frequent basis could constitute a statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Under this Act, Ipswich Borough Council can serve a legal notice on the owner or occupier of the house, or the registered keeper of the vehicle, if it is identified as a statutory nuisance. This notice would require the person responsible to silence the alarm.
If the person responsible for the offending house alarm cannot be contacted, the council will normally obtain a warrant from the Magistrate. This enables the Council to silence the alarm. The property will, however, be left in a secure state and the police will be advised of our actions.
The person responsible for the property will be charged for the council officer's time and for any works carried out.
In relation to car alarms, if the alarm is not silenced following a notice being served, the council can remove the car and/or silence the alarm. The registered keeper will be charged the cost of removing and silencing the alarm.
How to prevent alarms sounding unnecessarily
- Make sure the system is regularly maintained by a qualified engineer, who will also come out and fix the alarm should it go off accidentally.
- Register details of a key holder with Ipswich Borough Council. This can be done via the online secure registration or by telephone.
- Ensure that the alarm is set properly and that windows and doors are closed.
- Install a cut-out device so that the audible alarm switches off after 20 minutes.
- Remember if your alarm has been installed incorrectly then not only could it cost you money, but it could also badly affect your relationships with your neighbours.
What to do if an alarm sounds near you
- In the first instance, ring the police. They will respond if there has been a break-in, but will not act to silence the alarm if there has not been a break-in.
- If you feel the alarm is causing a nuisance, try to establish the exact source of the nuisance, this enables the problem resolved more swiftly - note down the address and any other relevant details such as the name of the company on the alarm box or car registration, colour, make and model.
- Ask neighbours if they know the whereabouts of the owner or occupiers, or if anyone knows who holds a key.
- If the alarm is causing a problem over a long period of time, you can get in touch with us during office hours using the contact details on this page, or telephone 01473 433444 out of hours.
- Please do not leave it until the end of the day to report a problem. It is easier for us to deal with the problem if we receive the complaint as early as possible.