Burglars have passed on the tricks of their trade to a Huddersfield researcher.

And now the study involving the jailed burglars has led to teams of talented Huddersfield product design students creating original new tools for deterring and thwarting housebreakers.

Product manufacturers are already expressing an interest in the designs from the University of Huddersfield School of Art, Design and Architecture.

Supervised by lecturer Robert Silkstone, the design students were fed data from Prof Rachel Armitage’s latest research, which revealed the ‘tricks of the trade’ of prolific burglars serving prison sentences in Armley Jail, Leeds.

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The students presented their designs to a panel of experts that included Prof Armitage and Chris Joyce, Crime Prevention Officer for West Yorkshire Police, Michael Brooke of Secured by Design, Steffan George who is Director of Business Development for the Master Locksmiths Association, the Training Programme Director Crime Prevention and Designing Out Crime for the College of Policing Janet Caton and Gemma Attiwell, who is Head of Contracts for lock manufacturers Yale.

Three winning designs chosen on the day included an ingenious device called Block, a door lock that is only accessible from one side at a time. The new style of cylinder lock cannot be cracked open using the “molegripping” technique which is responsible for a high proportion of burglaries.

Crime prevention project led by Robert Silkstone

It was designed by Benjamin Anderson, Matthew Broadbent, Charlie Brumwell and Edward Dawson, and aims to reduce the breakage and opening of Euro profile cylinder locks, which are particularly vulnerable at the rear of a property, as a burglar will usually have some form of cover.

Another device was Presence, designed by Oliver Greenwood, James Hoare, and Calum Marriott-Manning. This stand-alone product attaches to a light bulb fixture and gives the perception that a house is occupied by playing household sounds when responding to a doorbell and door knock. It also has the ability to turn the light on and off, either at random or present intervals.

The final winning product was Handlyn, from Channce Farrell, Karl Saxon, James Seal, and Jack Starling. This is a lock-shielding handle that sits flush with its casing until presented with a key fob specific to that handle. The handle will then push out and extend uncovering the cylinder lock, and allowing conventional entrance into the household.

Mr Silkstone praised the calibre of the students and their ideas, some of which had commercial potential.

“Those insights into criminal minds and methodologies fed into the early stage research of all the projects and generated numerous ideas to solve the problem of burglary,” he said.