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Ball of wool

Ball of Wool

In Ilkley, I was assisting Clancy install a system in a very small new jewellers shop, we were to install the alarm prior to the shopfitters and the unit was an empty shell, the unit was over a hundred years old, measured approximately five meters by five meters and had a door that was recessed into the shop space. 

At the left side, a wall had been inserted to close off the staircase to the upper floors which were to be let separately. In the back corner behind the counter was a hatchway leading to stairs into the cellar, illuminated by glass lights in the pavement. In the other back corner was a large safe, bolted to the floor.

To say the alarm specified was high security, was to say the least. The ceiling, underside to the staircase to the upper floors and wall to the staircase was to be CC wired at two-inch mesh. (four circuits at eight inches spacing in one direction and four more at eight inches spacing in the other, resulting in two-inch squares attached to battens and then covered with hardboard). 

The safe was to have a safe cupboard installed, this was a joiner built wooden cupboard with removable interior panels, all sides and top were wired, again at two inch mesh, the front door was fitted with a triple pole high security contact at top and bottom and a Chubb contacted five lever lock installed which when locked, engaged the wiring and contacts twenty four hours a day. 

The safe itself was to be fitted with a Burgafon MK4 which was drilled and tapped to the front of the door, a rotating keyhole flap was built in and the unit would activate if so much as a drill was detected cutting into the safe. The front door had CC wire on the solid lower third, a tube and batten CC wire frame over the glass top section and a contact, then a Chubb five lever contacted lock fitted to set/unset the system. Then, as if this were not enough, Burgafon detectors were installed on the cellar walls, these are the same as protecting bank vaults. In addition, frames were to cover the cellar lights and the front display windows were to be foiled. (lead foil tape glued onto the glass with varnish, a skill that has died out).

Clancy and I worked on the installation for nearly three weeks, on the last day, we were making the frames for the cellar lights, this involved cutting battens with pre drilled half inch holes at four inch intervals down one side, with a machined groove running the length which intersected and joined the holes, then cutting half inch aluminium tube to size, inserting the tubes into the battens, building what looked like the side of a babies cot. 

Finally, wires were threaded through the tubes and stapled into the pre-cut grooves, the frame would then be fixed over the area required and secured with tamper bolts, (these had a hole through which the wire ran) that would detect if the frame was prised from its location.

The shop was on a hill, and it was a hot sunny day, so we set up a frame building camp in the street outside the front of the shop. The CC wire we used to thread the frames came on two hundred and fifty meter coils and was designed to break easily. 

Clancy got a bit too hot and took a short toilet break, when he returned to the shop there was an elderly lady, very nicely dressed (this is Ilkley after all) standing near the shop, she asked him “is this yours?”, and handed him what looked like a ball of wool. 

It was in fact the roll of wire, it must have rolled down the street, across the road and down the next street, she had noticed it and rolled it up in the way she would have with a ball of wool until she reached the frame where it was attached, and met Clancy.