Empty Property Security for Pubs, Bars & Restaurants

As pubs, bars and restaurants continue to take a battering from the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, threatening as many as 39,700 premises across the country with closure, empty property security  is becoming a major concern for so many land and property owners.  To help, whether temporary or permanent closures of pubs, bars or restaurants, Farsight is offering short term remote monitoring security solutions for CCTV and alarm systems. We have also published some essential empty property security tips – below…

What is the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on Pubs, Bars & Restaurants?

The UK’s pub industry has had its fair share of challenges over 10 years – shrinking in numbers by 7,200 pubs . However, pubs generated sales of about £23bn before the pandemic, but are now facing their biggest challenge yet. Industry data suggesting that 25% of pubs could close, with the remainder barely breaking even as they struggle to cope with reduced custom and limited opening hours.

The FT reports that the 23,000 pubs run by single landlords or small chains are being impacted by the pandemic –  many perilously close to shutting for good. About 14,000 UK sites are owned by bigger companies and pub operators and they too are feeling the impact of the pandemic and imposed containment restrictions.

These include listed groups like Fuller’s, Marston’s Wetherspoons, City Pub Company, Young’s  and Mitchell and Butlers which  make up 4,700 pubs.  The rest are split between privately owned groups such as Greene King, Stonegate and Punch Taverns.

Each has been impacted in one way or another with JD Wetherspoon revealing its first loss since it opened in 1984 and Greene King planning to close 79 pubs. Marston’s which operate an estate of 1400 pubs, bars and restaurants (including 500 local pubs) has been heavily affected by the pandemic restrictions imposed on the North of England – leading to 2,150 furloughed job roles being impacted.

Despite these challenging times, the pub industry is doing its best to brave the storm, as Ralph Findlay, Marston’s Chief Executive says “We are braced to last”, but their is still much uncertainty ahead.  This is evident in signs indicating the sector’s need for cash with some listed group’s raising more then £4bn  through share placings since March, bonds being issued and government backed loans such as Fuller’s £100m loan in June to underpin their almost 400 managed and tenanted pubs in London and the South East.

However, many in the industry worry that the majority of casualties will be among the independent venues that lack the funding of listed pub chains.

Empty Pubs, Bars and Restaurants are an easy target for thieves

You don’t have to search the media to hard to find a stream of stories highlighting how criminals are targeting pubs, bars and restaurants for theft, criminal damage and even arson:

Here are just a few:

> Coronavirus UK: Surge in burglaries at shops and pubs after…express.co.uk

> Fire Tears through derelict pub after suspected break in…getreading.co.uk

Bury St Edmunds pub owners devastated after break in…suffolknews.co.uk

> Arsonists broke into empty pub...leighjournal.co.uk

> Thieves target North-East pub, leaving owner sickened…pressandjournal.co.uk

> Burglars kick in front door of empty pub…onthewight.com

It’s clear that empty pubs, bars and restaurants are being targeted and maintaining adequate empty property security is vital.  Here are some essential tips from Farsight to help stay on top of empty property security measures  -below…

alarm monitoringWant to talk to Farsight about short term help with monitoring empty pub, bar & restaurant CCTV & Alarms, call us on 0845 371 0101 or contact us here


10 Essential Empty Property Security Tips

1. CCTV Monitoring

CCCTV audio warnings


Taking extra measures to secure your property including  CCTV monitoring can help bring insurance costs down as the more you demonstrate you are protecting your property, the more likely it is your premiums will be reduced. Monitored CCTV not only proves to insurers that you take your security seriously, it can be an effective and proactive security deterrent against unauthorised intruders that can stop incidents from progressing.

Experienced CCTV operators will alert keyholders, police and fire services in real time where necessary. CCTV Audio warnings can also be an effective deterrent in minimising incidents progression. Retrospectively, CCTV footage can also be instrumental as evidence at prosecution. The following links offer further information on the benefits of remote CCTV monitoring to optimise your empty property security:

> See how remote CCTV monitoring works 

Where to position CCTV cameras in your business

choose the right remote monitoring partner 

Contact us to see if remote CCTV is the right solution for you to protect your empty property security

2. Vacant Property Insurance

Firstly, it goes without saying that it is crucial to ensure that a vacant commercial premises is covered by insurance.  The risks are are too great not to.  In fact, Insurer Zurich Insurance plc reports that since 2004 there has been an increase of around 2,500 per cent in the total cost of losses over £25,000 for its real estate clients.

Morag Keohane, Insurance Manager at Caxtons Chartered Surveyors, said: “If you own a commercial property that has become vacant you need to inform your insurer immediately. Taking precautions to manage risk and prevent any type of theft, including metal, and criminal or accidental damage, is vital to ensure the policy does not become invalid.”

Nelson Policies highlight that an unoccupied commercial building, such as a pub, bar or restaurant is vulnerable to theft, vandalism and damage. Vacant buildings are more likely to attract unwanted visitors as they act as easy targets to vandalise and be broken into. Due to the increased risk of vacant commercial property, if the building is left unoccupied for more than 30 days at a time, standard commercial property insurance policies would not be adequate.

An unoccupied commercial property policy is often more difficult to arrange compared to a standard commercial property insurance policy. Where insurers may expect additional precautions, landlords will be expected to implement a series of measures including installing an approved intruder alarm and monitored CCTV. These measures can reduce insurance premiums, most insurers will ask if these are present at a vacant premises.

3. Ensure Adequate Lighting



When used in conjunction with CCTV, lighting becomes a powerful tool for security operators to quickly identify and act upon illegal or dangerous activity. Especially when that security lighting is IR. Without security lighting, CCTV during night time hours becomes a tricky game of “spot the intruder”. We have published an article to help with lighting considerations for your site:

> Why security lighting makes all the difference

4. Monitored Alarm System

Fire & intruder alarms present at an empty property should be regularly tested and maintained to ensure they are working.  Alarm monitoring is a key service that gives peace of mind 24/7 that if the worst should happen at your empty property, trained security monitoring professionals can respond quickly and escalate the situation to relevant emergency services.  It is worth noting that current UK fire alarm regulations state that all business premises must have ‘an appropriate fire detection system’ – especially if the property is vacant.

> Find out more about fire & Intruder alarm monitoring here

5. Access Control

Controlling access to your vacant property is essential.  This may be a simple as ensuring windows and doors are locked and secure, but the harder it is for unauthorised intruders to gain access the better. It is advisable to board up windows or install steel shutters were possible and even permanently block up letterboxes. Locks and access codes should be changed to ensure only authorised persons can gain access.

In some circumstances, where it is necessary for various people to access the vacant property, such as trades or letting agents etc., remote access control can be employed to give peace of mind that only authorised access to the site is possible, without the need for keyholders to be in attendance or keys being shared.

>See more on remote access control here

6. Perimeter fencing & barriers

Ensuring good perimeter security is a basic necessity to deter easy access to an empty property by opportunists. The type of perimeter security will vary depending on the type and locations of the empty property.  This can range from wooden hoardings like those used on construction sites to wire mesh, palisades or high specialised security perimeter fencing.  It is also advisable to display warning signs as a powerful visual deterrent around the perimeter of the property.

Where there may be open access, such as entrances to car parks for example, barriers are good idea.  These can be anything from concrete blocks to water filled containers, but it is important to stop  to deter fly-tipping and unauthorised vehicle access to the property.

7. Ensure regular checks and maintenance

It is important to visit the empty property regularly to ensure there are no signs of entry, damage or theft.  In addition, enlisting the support of neighbours to keep an eye on the property can be worthwhile too.  Regular maintenance checks on fencing, security equipment is essential to ensure your empty property security is optimised and working.

Looking out for graffiti, rubbish or waste present on the property is crucial as this can show signs that the property is vulnerable to trespass.  Prompt removal of these is key to minimising the risk of fire, arson and criminal damage.

8. Isolate non-essential services

To minimise risks such as water damage and fire from gas supply, it is advised that all non-essential services are isolated. Remember to consider what services may be required however, for example for security lighting, alarms or CCTV for example.

9. Removal of equipment, fittings & fixtures

Whilst many empty properties may be void of equipment like tools or furniture – equipment such as radiators or sinks may be valuable to metal thieves. Where possible these should be removed to reduce this temptation. Lead work such as guttering, pipes or roofing can be coated with silver paint which vastly reduces their metal resale value.

Using anti-climb paint on equipment and metal work to stop both thieves and thrill seeking trespassers from gaining access to your site. This paint is non-drying and marks clothes and skin. (This should only be applied above 2.4 m from the ground and must be clearly signposted to comply with the Occupiers Liability Act 1984)

10. Using a forensic solution

Forensic solutions, such as SmartWater or SelectaDNA (a Crimestoppers supported product)  can be used to security mark your property which may provide a deterrent to would be thieves as well as aiding the recovery of stolen equipment or goods.

Farsight want to help you to protect empty pub premises…

It is not easy protecting empty properties from trespass, theft and criminal damage, but taking the time to plan the best security measures to employ for your empty property will pay dividends and give you peace of mind that you have done everything possible to secure your site. We hope the above article has given you some insight.

For more information empty property protection and Who and Where the threats come from, read Farsight’s Comprehensive Guide to Empty Property Security


alarm monitoringWant to talk to Farsight about short term help with monitoring empty pub, bar & restaurant CCTV & Alarms, call us on 0845 371 0101 or contact us here