Ealing council is to authorise officers to break into houses and turn off burglar alarms when they cause a nuisance.

Ealing already has a similar policy on cars and can tow them away, using powers under the 1993 Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act.

The Metropolitan Police says 96.7 per cent of alarm calls are false. Burglar alarms are supposed to have a 20 minute cut-out fitted and two named key holders who can give access to the property while the owner is away.

If an alarm rings for more than an hour, Ealing council will apply to magistrates for a warrant to break into the property. They call out a locksmith to enter the house and fit new locks, leaving a note for the owners when they return.