Broken 3 Lever Mortice Lock
I was called out today to an apartment in Bradford. The tenant was having trouble with the lock in her door, it was a standard 3 lever mortice lock which had failed. The latch of the lock had also dropped out completely. As I began to remove the old mortice lock after removing the door handles, I immediately found that it was a little hard to remove than normal. Now usually once the door handle had been removed, and the handle spindle, the mortice lock should easily slide out of the recess in the door. This one however had clearly been sent to test me!
It did not want to move at all. It actually took me around 15 minutes to remove the lock, being careful not to cause any damage to the tenants door. Using improvised wedges such as screwdrivers and chisels, I had to use the burglars tool of choice, a pair of mole grips, to clamp onto the mortice lock. Waggling the lock up and down whilst trying to pull it out, the faceplate actually snapped off in the process.
You can see the marks where I had my mole grips on the lock near where the faceplate should be. The markings you can see round the key hole area would have been caused when the lock had been hammered into place. It is safe to say that, for reasons best known to themselves, whoever installed this lock in the first place was not an experienced locksmith. I dare say not even a joiner. There is no way that this lock was installed without having to be hammered into the recess. It was so tight that it would definately have been compressing the lock case, stopping it from operating freely and has resulted in it failing.
I took the time, as any good locksmith would, to chisel the recess out more, in order for the new mortice lock to be inserted very easily.