A FORMER burglar who claims to have broken into 20,000 homes has revealed his top tips for 'burglar-proofing' – including hiding your valuables in a BEANBAG.
Darryl Kennedy, 58, started breaking and entering aged just NINE when his dad – also a career burglar – would take him out on raids to show him the ropes.
He travelled all around the world including spending five years in Australia, targeting wealthy homes to raid their jewellery boxes and sell the precious stones.
The dad-of-four soon developed a reputation as a notorious cat burglar and even headed up a professional burglary gang.
At his worst, the Manchester-born crook was smashing into a whopping 15 homes every day.
But despite robbing houses from all over the world, the crook claims he only focused on the homes of the rich and famous and "never stole from working class people".
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But after serving five years for a string of 140 high-value robberies in Cheshire, he was released from prison in 2019 and hasn't looked back since.
And with his wealth of knowledge, Darryl – who now lives in Salford, Manchester – wants to help homeowners protect against burglars.
Darryl's first top tip is not just to put CCTV on your own home, but to partner up with neighbours and watch each other's properties too.
He said for him, the easiest targets were the ones which didn't have other homes overlooking them, as there were less likely to be witnesses.
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So for new buyers, a home which has neighbouring properties close by is a big green tick.
Darryl also explained if you only have CCTV on your own home, a burglar can break in and steal the hard drive – leaving you with nothing.
But if your neighbour has the footage, it'll stay safe – because a burglar would see it as too big a risk to break into two homes.
He said: "Burglars know to look out and dodge CCTV on your own home, but don't think to check for neighbours' CCTV."
He also recommended spending a few pounds on door bolts for your living room and kitchen doorways.
Locking them from the hallway before going to bed at night will mean that burglars who manage to break into either of those rooms will be locked inside.
Darryl explained that a burglar would likely run away in that situation rather than kick the door down and risk waking the inhabitants.
He said: "There probably won't be many valuables in those rooms – they'll be looking for the bedrooms with the jewellery boxes.
"But there's no chance they'll risk kicking down the door and disturbing you in bed.
"Remember, you don't know who is down there, but they don't know who is upstairs either – it could be a six foot six bodybuilder.
"The noise of the door being kicked would also give you enough time to call the police, which they don't want."
His final tip is how to protect your valuables once the burglar gets inside your home.
He recommended an unusual trick using a common household item – a beanbag.
Darryl said buying a beanbag with a zip is a sure-fire way of keeping your jewellery, watches and other valuables safe – because nobody thinks to check it.
That way, even if someone does enter your house, the valuables won't be found.
It's even safer if you have children and can put the bean bag in their room – doubling as bedroom furniture and a super-sneaky safe spot for your goods.
He said: "The first thing I would do after breaking into a house is go to the master bedroom.
"It's the first thing any burglar thinks of – it's where all the valuables are.
"They don't want kids clothes, and they especially don't want children waking up, so they'll never go for the kids bedroom."
Looking back on his long and once-lucrative career as a burglar, Darryl has regrets.
The most poignant of these was when he met some of his victims in a rehabilitation programme.
He explained: "When I met my victims I realised I stole things which had been passed down for generations.
"It was traumatic for me and I see now that burglary is a horrible thing."
He added: "I can't take back what I did, but I can try and stop it happening again."
The crook also regrets not being there for his children while he was incarcerated, and regrets what he put his victims through.
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But he concluded: "I'm a changed person now and I want to use what I know to eradicate burglary."
Darryl received no money or financial benefit for participating in this article.
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