We have all been there, arrived home after a night out or a weekend away, tired, hungry ready for bed and realise that we can't find our house keys, and then we come to the awful realisation that we paid extra for the best front door with the best locks, our windows are the high security multi locking type with toughened almost unbreakable glass we are truly locked out.
Go back 30 years or so and the situation simply wasn't a dire as it is today and many parents and grandparents will reminisce about all the times they where locked out of their home after losing or misplacing their keys where they simply prised open a small window or even purposely broke a small panel of glass in the front door - yes people used to do this because old fashioned single pane glass held in place with basic putty was relative inexpensive to replace and was a job that a majority of home owners could do themselves. In fact it worked out a lot cheaper than calling out a 24 hour emergency locksmith found in the phone book or yellow pages - remember those things?
Nowadays it's a totally different story as our window, doors, patios are built to much higher standard and breaking in yourself can literally cause £1000's of pound of damages, that if you actually succeed in breaking in at all.
Your only recourse when you find yourself in this type of situation is to call out a professional 24 hour emergency locksmith who is local to you. The good news it that these days this is a relatively easy thing to do, you simple search for a local locksmith on your smart phone - which most people in 2018 have with them at all times - and select one of the results. The bad news is that not all locksmiths are created equally and you might find yourself waiting for hours in the cold or rain or end choosing an amateur 'have a go' locksmith over a professionally trained locksmith.
Qualified tradesmen such as electricians and heating engineers must be professionally trained and certified by law and must have passed all the relevant courses and exams and have up to date certification, this is because gas and electricity is dangerous and using a cowboy or untrained amateur could get you injured or even killed.
Anyone working on a gas appliance or an electrical system either in a residential home or commercial premises without the proper training and certification is doing so illegally but the locksmith industry is not regulated at all and certification and training is voluntary and not a legal requirement.
There are a number of locksmith training colleges in the UK, the most well known is Train Locksmiths in Greater Manchester who boast to have trained locksmith not just from all over the UK but from all over the world.
So if you choose a locksmith who displays on their website of in their marketing material that they are trained by this Manchester based locksmith training college then you can be certain of their credentials and their skill level, other locksmith training colleges to exist and so do cheap online course, the level of training depends on the course and the tutors, some online courses however are little more than a hand full of thrown together "how to" videos and a meaningless certificate at the end of the course, the problem with online courses is the lack of one on one training plus the fact that you get what you pay for.
A professionally trained locksmith will usually attempt what is called non-destructive entry first which could mean picking the lock by hand or using a specialist's lock picking gun or tool. Only when all non-destructive entry methods have failed will the professional locksmith turn to other tools such as drills.
However, the worse type of locksmith you could contact in an emergency is the totally un-trained amateur "have a go" locksmith who is simply jumping on the bandwagon and trying to cash in on the industry , these are people who have had no official locksmith training whatsoever and have simple watched a few youtube video and bought some cheap tools off the internet, officially they'll more than likely market themselves as a handyman and should be avoided at all costs.
These amateur locksmiths will generally turn up armed with a drill - the favourite amateur's tool - and a hammer and chisel and then set about vandalising - for want of a better word - your property in a futile effort to gain entry and get paid in an industry they know little about.
In summary, always make sure that you are calling a professionally trained locksmith. A professionally trained locksmith with normally have his or her own small website and genuine Google reviews whereas the "have a go" amateurs with instead choose to advertise on websites such a Gumtree constantly changing their name and mobile number or sign up with of the growing number of nationwide locksmith call centres - more on these in a future article.