FAULTY burglar alarms will cost owners money, City of York Council warned today.

A huge rise in unintentional call outs is wasting time and cash for the authority's environmental protection staff.

They are telling householders that they will be billed for the costs.

In the past year, 117 complaints about burglar alarm noise have been received - an increase of 31 per cent.

Zoe Burns. the council's environmental protection manager, said: "While a lot of the complaints we receive can be sorted fairly quickly, dealing with burglar alarms is far more complicated.

"Of all the noise complaints dealt with, those relating to burglar alarms cause the most annoyance to members of the public and often affect a whole neighbourhood."

Police will only respond if a break-in has taken place.

It is the council's responsibility to turn off the noise.

"We have to serve a noise abatement notice and get a warrant to allow us to send in a professional alarm company to disable the offending alarm," said Mrs Burns.

"All this takes time and money and we are obliged to invoice the holder for the costs, which can amount to several hundred pounds."

Advice being sent to residents includes:

Having the alarms serviced regularly

Altering the system so the alarm sounds for a maximum of 20 minutes

Ensure sensors cannot be triggered accidentally

Register key holders with the council.

Updated: 16:26 Thursday, October 31, 2002