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VOID Public Houses - Understanding the Risks:

Updated: Oct 4, 2023

According to public figures, more than 32 pubs disappeared from communities in England and Wales each month in 2022, leaving many buildings empty and vulnerable to vandalism, theft and other forms of crime.

sorry we are closed sign in pub

Public houses or pubs are an integral part of the social fabric of the UK. However, more than 32 pubs disappeared from communities in England and Wales each month in 2022 as rocketing energy bills and staffing pressures forced businesses to shut for the final time.

New analysis of official government data by real estate adviser Altus group found the overall number of pubs slid by 386 during the year. The total number of pubs in England and Wales, including those vacant and being offered to let, fell to 39,787 in December 2022 compared with 40,173 at the same point last year.

The closure of pubs has become a common occurrence in recent years due to a catalogue of external pressures, such as competition from supermarkets selling alcohol, the smoking ban and more recently due to the pandemic and subsequent spiralling energy costs.

Pub closures have left many buildings empty and vulnerable to vandalism, theft, and other forms of crime. Securing an empty public house is essential in protecting the property and preventing potential criminal activities.

Risks of leaving empty pubs without any form of security:

Leaving an empty pub without any form of security is an open invitation to criminals. These properties are at risk of theft, vandalism, arson, and squatting. Such activities can cause significant damage to the building, leading to costly repairs, decreased property values and extended void periods. Moreover, empty pubs can also become a danger to the public. They can attract antisocial behavior, such as drug use and become a site for illegal gatherings.

This can be a major cause of concern for neighbouring properties, and it can also lead to urban deterioration and blight as criminals take over and legitimate enterprises move out.

Security measures:

There are several security measures that can be employed to secure an empty public house. The most cost-effective security measures include alarms, CCTV, and window boarding.

1. Alarm Systems:

Installing an alarm system is a crucial step in securing an empty public house. The alarm system should be monitored by a professional security company that can alert the police in the event of an intrusion. This will help to deter criminals and minimise the damage caused by intruders attempting to force entry. If the property has mains power then we would recommend the installation of an AJAX alarm system.

AJAX alarms come with a range of features, including flood sensors. If the property has been de-energised then an off-grid solution such as the RSI-Videofied video verification system would be a good choice.

Both AJAX and RSI can be monitored via the industry leading Webeye platform, one of the most exciting innovations currently available.

The feature laden Webeye platform utilises CALIPSA artificial intelligence to dramatically reduce the number of nuisance alarms, ensuring that only genuine intrusions are captured and escalated.

2. CCTV Cameras:

Closed-circuit television (CCTV) is an effective way to monitor an empty pub. Installing CCTV cameras at strategic locations can help to deter criminal activities and provide evidence in the event of a crime. Moreover, CCTV footage can also be used to identify potential security weaknesses and help to improve overall security.

Most pubs already have CCTV systems, so when the property becomes void, it should be a simple case of connecting the system to a remote monitoring centre. However, if the site has been de-energised or equipment removed, off grid CCTV could be deployed, either in the form of solar powered systems or video verification technology such as the Reconeyez system.

3. Window Boarding-up:

Window boarding-up is an effective way to prevent unauthorised entry into an empty pub. The windows can be boarded up using plywood or metal sheets to deter criminals from breaking in. This will also protect the property from damage caused by weather conditions.

There a are a range of steel security screens and metal doors that could be used to effectively secure the property. If the pub is a listed building (many of the older ones are), then our compression system would be the most suitable choice (when compared with SITEX security screens and drilled in Perforated Steel screens).

The compression system requires no fixings to secure the panels to the fabric of the building, which in turns eliminates the costs associated with making good on any damage (multiple drilled holes with Perforated Steel screens, or potential damage to windows due to the removal of glazing units to install SITEX panels).

Our compression steel security screens can also be fitted with vinyl decals to create a more aesthetically pleasing facade.


Securing an empty public house is essential in preventing criminals targeting the property. Leaving an empty pub without any form of security is a major risk, leading to costly repairs and downtime.

Alarm systems, CCTV cameras, and window boarding are the most cost-effective security measures that can be employed to secure an empty public house. Employing these security measures will help to deter criminals and protect the property from damage resulting from theft, squatter occupation, vandalism and arson.


For more information or to arrange a no obligation vulnerability assessment for your property, please contact one of our security specialist today

Propertysec are specialists in the protection of void property.

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