Locksmith Greenwich

Should a Locksmith Drill My Lock? (When to Drill a Lock & Not to)

Have you recently hired a locksmith & the locksmith drilled your lock to gain entry to your house as you were locked out, or your door lock was broken?

Find out the scenarios when it is acceptable for a locksmith to have drilled a door lock, and when a locksmith really should not be using a drill.

1. Should a Locksmith Use a Drill on my Lock?

There are instances when a locksmith has to drill a lock such as when the lock is broken, however drilling a lock should not be the first attempt, we would expect a locksmith to try non-destructive methods first and only use a drill as a last resort.

A professional Locksmith will have various tools and the knowledge to apply specialist techniques first, before drilling a lock.

We recommend always using a skilled & vetted MLA Approved locksmith that has the skill set and knowledge to know when not to drill + when drilling a lock is required as a last resort.

2. When Will a Locksmith Need to Drill a Lock?

There are various scenarios a locksmith may need to a drill a lock, below are some examples :

  • Lost Keys with Lock Replaced – if the customer has lost their house keys and the lock needs replacing anyway, then drilling can be used as the old lock will be replaced anyway.
  • 3 Star Diamond Lock without correct Lock Pick – If the door lock is a 3 star diamond standard lock and locksmith does not have the correct lock pick on the van.
  • No Feel in the Lock – If when trying to pick or bypass there is no feel in the lock, then the lock may need to be drilled or attacked to open.
  • Lock Mechanism Failed – If the lock has failed or attacked & is fully locked or doubled locked, the locksmith may need to drill to open the lock.
  • Last Resort – If the locksmith has tried to pick, bump, rake, bypass and all has failed then drilling the lock is a last resort normally.

3.  When Will a Locksmith NOT Need to Drill a Lock?

Most MLA Approved Locksmiths are skilled enough to pick, bump, rake, bypass a lock to get a customer back in without the need to drill a lock.

A locksmith will not always need to drill your lock in various scenarios, for example:

  • Locked out Keys in Back of Door  – rather than drill, the locksmith will use a variety of non-destructive techniques.
  • Lost Keys or Lock out – instead of drill the lock, the locksmith might find another entry point easier to open than the one in question.
  • Night latch Lock Out – instead of drilling a night latch lock, a locksmith has a number of expert techniques to open the lock without damage.
  • Euro Thumb Turn Cylinder Lock Out – the locksmith can open a euro thumb using non-destructive locksmith methods.

4. Will Drilling through a lock open it?

Drilling through a lock will definitely not open the lock, a lot of modern locks are actually designed to combat drilling, or snapping, therefore drilling should be considered the last thing to ever attempt.

When drilling a lock, this can cause further issues like damaging the locking mechanism inside the door that ultimately makes the job even more expensive replacing more parts.

A Professional locksmith will be able to identify the lock in question, establish where to drill and how to then open the lock with minimal damage.

5. Why do Rogue Locksmiths Immediately Attempt to Drill Locks?

A rogue locksmith will use drilling as the first attempt, as the exact intention of a rogue Locksmith is to inflate the price by damaging the lock.

After drilling a lock, the invoice produced by a rogue locksmith will include lots of items to inflate the cost, such as a) labour to drill b) labour to fit a new lock.

Multiple item charges after drilling is a massive indication that you could be being overcharged, as the labour is usually one item while you are on site.

Locksmith Greenwich

3 Red Flags When Hiring a Locksmith – How To Spot a Rogue Locksmith & Prevent Being Scammed!

Locksmith greenwich
If you are looking to hire a locksmith there a some warnings signs you should be aware of before committing to the hiring the locksmith.

Our guide below will cover some major red flags to look out for when searching for a locksmith near you and prevent you from potential hiring a rogue locksmith.

1. Locksmith Google Adverts Stating from £39 / £49 / £59 Price 

The locksmith bait and switch price scheme is a major problem in the industry currently, resulting in customers being charged over £500 for a simple job such as a lock out.

Below is what a typical rogue locksmith bait and switch price advert looks like on Google:


The above rogue locksmith advert will draw in desperate customers with the cheap £39 price point.

Bait and Switch Price – The final price is highly unlikely to be £39, we have seen some customers ending up with bills over £500 for a quick lock out job where a cheap initial price was promoted on advertising material.

For advice on costing see our locksmith price guide.

How to Spot a Rogue Locksmith advert

A typical bait and switch rogue locksmith advert will likely consist of the following:

  • Cheap Advertised Price be wary of from £39 / £49 or £59 prices – we have found this is the price rogue locksmiths are using
  • Top of Google 1st position in the Google Adverts, they have PAID for be here, for a reason!
  • Nationwide Problem – Rogue locksmiths also turn on and off their adverts to appear in ALL areas of the UK and at certain times of the day.

If a low price looks too good to be true then more often than not it will be!

This brings us onto the 2nd red flag to look out for, after clicking on their Google advert their website will sometimes make claims of 3rd party approval.

2. Claims of 3rd Party Approval / Certification / Accreditation

One of the other most popular red flags to look out for when hiring a locksmith are false claims of being certified, accredited or DBS checked.

After clicking the Cheap £39 / £49 / £59 Google advert the website usually makes false claims.

Look out for any false claims of the following:

  • False claims of being Approved or Certified by a trade association
  • False claims of being Vetted by a 3rd party
  • False claims of being DBS checked


We come across many false claims of MLA Approved Company status, which is why we recommend verifying your locksmith is a full Master Locksmiths approved company.

As the MLA logo is trademarked we can take action against incorrect use,  false claims of being MLA approved is also against the consumer protection from unfair trading regulations.

Genuine Locksmiths will Provide Details of Accreditations

A legitimate locksmith company with genuine 3rd party approval will gladly provide you with the details of their accreditation, most will link through to their 3rd party accreditation profile as proof.

3.  Locksmith Claims to be Police Recommended or Work with Police Force

Another red flag is if the locksmith claims to be Police Recommended.

A rogue locksmith will usually claim the following:

  • Police Recommended – the Police do not recommend locksmith companies, the Police MAY recommend using an MLA approved locksmith due to the vetting process our locksmiths go through, the Police are highly unlikely to recommend a specific company though.
  • Police Approved Locksmith – There is no such thing as being a “Police Approved Locksmith” – the Police DO NOT approve locksmiths!
  • Work with MET Police – The MET Police are aware of locksmiths making these false claims and falsely using their logo.

Genuine locksmiths may carry out locksmith jobs for the Police though, but they will not claim to be Police Approved or Police Recommended.


4. Locksmiths Name & Are They Subcontractors?

The final red flag to be aware of when calling a locksmith is the use of subcontractors, this is a clear sign the locksmith is not local and indeed a nationwide company/call centre you are phoning.

Questions to ask a suspected rogue locksmith:

  • 1. Name of locksmith – Who will be carrying out the work, do you have the name of the locksmith?
  • 2. Are they are a Subcontractor Ask if they are subcontracting the work
  • 3. If a subcontractor – ask for the name and contact details in case any problems arise
  • 4. Who are you paying – find out who your contract is actually with and who it is that you are paying

5. Locksmith is Vague on the Phone about Price Details

A genuine locksmith should be able to provide a quote for the job either over the phone or by email, as long as they know details about the job.

Red flags of a rogue locksmith prices on the phone are:

  • Very vague about price details on the phone
  • Keeps mentioning a low price on the phone
  • Unable to give accurate price quote for the job e.g price of specific lock, cost to unlock your lock

Pro Top: Read our locksmith price checklist here and don’t be afraid to ask for more information on pricing.

Summary on Spotting a Rogue locksmith

The red flags to look out for when a hiring a locksmith are:

  • 1. Cheap Google Advert Price usually states from £39 / £49 / £59
  • 2. False Claims of 3rd party approval and accreditation, always check any claims of being vetted/accredited by 3rd parties
  • 3. Claims of being Police Recommend or Police Approved
  • 4. Using a Subcontractor and refusal to give the locksmiths name usually indicates a call centre subcontracting work.
  • 5. Vague on Pricing only mentions low price in advert

For advice on hiring a locksmith see our choosing a locksmith guide here.