Ben wants to change Sidmouth’s ‘soft target’ image with burglars

Ben Waring with Nigel Stout outside Mocha in Sidmouth. Ref shs 48 17TI 3967. Picture: Terry Ife

Ben Waring with Nigel Stout outside Mocha in Sidmouth. Ref shs 48 17TI 3967. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

A former bouncer has launched a fightback against burglars to stop Sidmouth being seen as a ‘soft target’.

Ben Waring has been running a ‘key holder’ service for years, but it was only after a spate of break-ins that he decided to offer it more widely.

When an alarm is triggered, he estimates he can be at the scene within five minutes to scare off any intruders, collect evidence and secure the premises. “Sidmouth is seen as a soft target – that’s why we have so many burglaries,” said the 36-year-old, who was a doorman at Carinas for 15 years and signed up as a retained firefighter earlier this year. “If we don’t get something done, we will continue to be seen as a soft target. We can stop a lot of upset. Hopefully, we can make a difference.”

Safeguard owner Mr Waring explained that a burglar may activate an alarm and then wait – and plunder a property if no-one responds within 15 minutes. He said many business owners live out of town, so could not arrive in time to respond if their alarm goes off, or they would be reluctant to do so.

As a key holder, Mr Waring will be contacted if an alarm is activated – and his team is licensed and insured to detain any intruders they encounter.

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The Cotmaton Road resident added: “On arrival, we will find out what set the alarm off, reset it and secure the scene.

“We will go in with body-mounted cameras to collect evidence for the police and to show we use reasonable and proportionate force if we have to confront a burglar.

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“Normally, a disturbance is enough to make them scarper, but if we are threatened we will defend ourselves.

“We aren’t a vigilante service – this has to be robust and to the line of the law. Our primary concern is to deter criminals and to collect evidence.

“We’re here to complement the police, not replace them.”

Mr Waring said his team will also respond to criminal damage, for example, if a window gets broken they will board it up, and reset false alarms so neighbouring residents can sleep soundly.

The service is only available to Sidmouth businesses. The key holding service is free and there is a flat £20 callout fee – regardless of how long the clean-up takes.

Anyone interested should contact Ben on 01395 515614 or email

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