Barnsley Council has warned that it may issue fines for people whose burglar alarms sound for more than 20 minutes.

The council’s Pollution Control Team are running the campaign after it emerged the council gets at least one complaint every week regarding noise from intruder alarms when home owners are away.

A spokesman said: "Alarms are designed to attract attention when there is a break-in. But they also sound if there is a fault. Common causes of activation include a fault with the alarm, electrical storms, decorations or curtains moving in a draft, pets and animals and, last but not least, intruders.

"If you are away and cannot turn it off, your alarm can cause intense local disturbance, preventing people from working or sleeping. If the alarm sounds for over 20 minutes it may result in action being taken against the owner for causing a noise nuisance. Some alarm owners have to pay costs or fines if no-one can be contacted and the alarm has to be turned off by pollution control officers."

House owners can follow four simple steps to avoid their alarm causing problems: 1. make sure your alarm is installed by a qualified engineer and set at the right level of sensitivity, 2. make sure your alarm is well maintained, 3. make sure your alarm has a cut-out device fitted. The sounders should cut out after a maximum of 20 minutes, whatever has caused it to activate, 4. make sure you register your alarm key holder details with the council's Pollution Control Team; remember to update them if they change.

Coun Roy Miller said: “The council appreciates that nuisance from intruder alarms isn’t normally caused maliciously by property owners, but consideration has to be given to those living nearby witnessing the noise. "To prevent nuisance being caused, and ultimately reduce the number of alarms that require disconnecting, we are requesting that all property owners register their key holder details with Regulatory Services.”