Is it Legal to Use Barbed Wire or Razor Fencing?

Posted by Tony Goldstone on

People often want to know if its legal to use barbed wire or razor fencing to improve security around their properties. While it is not illegal to use barbed wire or razor wire in the UK the fact that these products are potentially dangerous means there are regulations and restrictions on how they can be used.

Barbed Wire and Razor Fencing Usage Restrictions

Section 164 of the Highways Act 1980 states that barbed wire on land adjoining a public highway must not cause a nuisance or present a danger to humans or animals using that highway. Barbed wire or razor wire located within 2.4 metres of highways is considered a nuisance and potential risk and local authorities can issue notices for it to be removed.

Anybody experiencing injury or damage to their clothing as a result of barbed wire or razor wire that’s close to a highway can potentially make a claim against whoever is responsible for it being there. If the barbed wire or razor wire placement doesn’t comply with the 2.4 metre clearance requirement it would be considered unlawful.

Police forces advise against the use of barbed wire to protect residential buildings as the householder is likely to be liable for any injuries or damage caused if a trespasser or burglar attempted to break in. They recommend considering alternative, safe perimeter security precautions.

Duty of Care to Trespassers

The subject of whether or not property owners and occupiers have a duty of care towards trespassers and others who may be engaged in criminal activity, is widely debated. But the legal position is that householders and occupiers do have a duty of care towards everyone who comes onto their property - for whatever reason.

This means they are legally obliged to make certain there are no risks or hazards that may injure someone entering their property. This is clearly stated in the Occupiers Liability Act 1984 and it means that if someone is breaking into a property and they sustain injury they have a right to sue the occupier or property owner due to whatever unsafe conditions caused their injury. This can mean that a burglar who scales a fence or wall and injures themselves on barbed wire can make a claim against whoever was responsible for installing the barbed wire.

Property owners and occupiers can go some way toward protecting themselves by fulfilling their duty of care by prominently displaying warning signage. If barbed wire is being used the warnings should clearly state the risk. If an intruder tries to sue a property owner or occupier judges will consider whether there was adequate warning signage in place and did it fulfil the occupier’s duty of care responsibilities. The Criminal Justice Act 2003 states that criminals found to be guilty can only sue property owners or occupiers if they get permission from a court, unless the security measures taken were excessively unsafe.

Roller Barrier is the Safe, Effective Alternative

Roller Barrier is now being used extensively around residential homes as well as schools, hospitals, detention centres, prisons and many other locations. It is a totally safe form of perimeter security and anti-intruder protection that doesn’t present any risk of injury while at the same time providing robust security. Positive feedback from those who have been repeatedly troubled by intruders and then installed Roller Barrier confirms how its totally effective in preventing people from getting into properties where they are not welcome. 

Its also widely used to simply prevent people from climbing onto structures where they might cause damage or injury to themselves. 

So if you were thinking about an aggressive barbed wire or razor wire security solution its worth considering the potential costs involved in dealing with injury claims and instead opt for a totally safe, affordable and effective Roller Barrier solution.