Counting The Costa Locking Yourself Out

Published on 28/03/2010 in Your Spanish Home

DONNA GEE is still counting the cost of the night she accidentally locked herself out of her Guardamar home...

It still counts as just about my most embarrassing moment in Spain. I'd been in my villa near Guardamar just a few months when I managed to lock myself out. OK, most of us have done it - but in light of what developed afterwards I am beginning to wonder if there was something a little, shall we say, unusual about the way I had to pay through the nose for the privilege of getting through my own front door.

Opening a locked door in SpainMy daughter and son in law and their three kids were staying with me at the time and everything seemed d wonderful when we arrived home late on a balmy summer's night. Until I attempted to open the front door, that is. Like most of the houses around me, when one closes the door from the outside, the lock triggers and you need a key to get back in. Anyway, when this particular fool went out, surrounded  by her babbling family entourage, she failed to realise that her house key was not in her handbag - but dangling on the inside of the front door.

One locked door and seemingly no way back in. And one stupid woman who, not realising that the key needed to be turned  three times in the lock to fully operate the security mechanism, went out for the evening leaving her home wide open to burglars. Thankfully, those flimsy defences were not penetrated while we were out but when my entourage and I returned in the early hours of the morning, mass panic quickly broke out in the deserted neighbourhood. I needed a locksmith - but where on earth would I find one at 1.30am? I knew there was one living on the urbanisation, but where on earth would I start looking for him among 500 or more houses?

I got into my car and - more in hope than expectation - began to drive panic-striken around the estate.Then, glory be, a glimmer of hope - I saw the lights of a Guardia Civil jeep heading towards me. I immediately stopped the car, got out and flagged down the Guillermo Viejo (well, how else do you say Old Bill in Spanish?!). With my limited Spanish and some mega-talking with my hands, I managed to explain to the two Guardia officers in the jeep that I had locked myself out. They duly followed me back to my house, negotiated the entourage of family members hovering on the patio, and proceeded to twiddle with the front door lock.

''Necesita un cerrajero,'' they advised me, introducing me to a word I have never forgotten - the Spanish for locksmith. Cue more Anglo-Spanish pidgin talk and sign language and an offer to call out a locksmith for me.but it would not be cheap.
What could I do? Half an hour later, a locksmith arrived from Torrevieja, took one look at the door, pulled out what seemed to be a credit card, slid it down the frame of the door and CLICK, we were in.

Total time to get into the house - four seconds. Quicker than using a key. The cost? Precisely 100 euros.enough to make even John Terry consider changing his £175,000-a-week profession. (Not that I'd ever let him within 100 miles of my house, of course - and particularly my daughter!).

I made a costly mistake and I deservedly had to pay for it. Since then, I've learnt how to do the credit card trick myself and would strongly advise anyone else with a self-locking front door to make sure they ALWAYS ensure the security mechanism is fully operative when they go out.

But I often ask myself one little question.. Were those two Guardia Civil officers so naive as not to know the 'credit card' trick themselves? And if they did, why was it necessary for them to call out a cerrajero at all? Anyway, Guillermo Viejo and his friends are welcome to give me a call if they'd like some basic lessons in housebreaking!

Written by: Donna Gee

About the author:

I am a semi-retired former Daily Express, Daily Star and Daily Mirror staff sub-editor and writer who now lives most of the time in Guardamar  on the Costa Blanca. If you would like professional content written for you by me then email me on

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Sabrina said:
13 August 2013 @ 19:15

Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weolbg and wished to say that I've really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

hotdog said:
03 April 2010 @ 11:11

If you go onto Youtube people will show you how to get through almost any lock. I've been watching it and teaching myself a handy sideline hobby.

willywonker said:
02 April 2010 @ 23:04

beadso----Come on mate how many people do you see walking round metal detactors unless they are at the seaside

Webster said:
02 April 2010 @ 19:05

We installed an English key box to the outside of the apartment. It holds the magic front door key but only knowing the pin number gains you entry. They cost about £20 in the UK and we first used it for a housebound parent so that carers could gain access. You will obviously need to drill it into a wall, but saves a repeat similar to Donna's experience!

beadso said:
02 April 2010 @ 11:43

watch leaving keys in gardens as metal detactors can find the quite easy.

Jimbo said:
30 March 2010 @ 23:11

I've been in the same situation as you.
When it happend I was in my very tatty shoes, torn overalls, T shirt underneath and in January, a tad cold. Tried levering the door, no luck (the mark is still there) Fortunately a neighbour gave me shelter till my wife returned. God knows what they said after I left as they are the most house proud people we know. They still talk to us though.

malcolm froggatt said:
30 March 2010 @ 19:06

it is best to fit the handle on the outside, even if you leave a key hidden or with a neighbour you still cannot get in if you have left your key on the inside

Roberto said:
30 March 2010 @ 18:57

I remember once locking my car door by popping down the old style button and simply shutting it, then seeing the keys dangling agonisingly in the ignition. What luck, I thought, when along came "Old Bill". I begged them to open the car for me, convinced they would know the old coat hanger trick or similar. Unfortunately, they informed me, they were not authorised to break into cars, but nudge nudge wink wink, they could let me know how to. Well? "Break the bloody window, son!" Gee, thanks.
I am now the designated house breaker in our community, because having had a similar experience with my front door once, I taught myself the credit card trick, and now instead of keeping keys hidden under plant pots, which could be a bit risky, my neighbours all know that I have secreted away an old piece of x-ray film which fits the puropse perfectly.

Brian said:
30 March 2010 @ 17:53

Having an apartment with a roof terrace accessed from outside the apartment I always fear the apartment door slamming behind me. For peace of mind I have fitted a wall mounted key safe in which I always leave a spare key when I am in residence.
OK in the unlikely event that the safe gets prised off the wall the key could not be accessed without a 'welding torch' by which time you would have changed the lock.

jan said:
30 March 2010 @ 17:38

Yes locksmiths are expensive, do you not have a good spanish or otherwise nieghbour you can leave a key with?, which is what I do. Luckily so far have not had to resort to this measure but it is handy just incase the situation arises.

Tony said:
30 March 2010 @ 17:21

I have done this several times and also left a key in my large garden.
For people who do not have anywhere to hide a key,
there is an alternative which I have now fitted.
On the inside you do have a handle, remove it, then drill straight through to the outside, and fit a new longer square bar and a handle on the outside (ferreterias). Of course you must always lock up when you go out, or go to bed etc.

jaybee said:
30 March 2010 @ 17:07


Peter said:
30 March 2010 @ 16:43

I have always hidden a spare key somewhere in the garden, usually buried in a plastic bag near to a tree or other non moving object (not under the last stone near the door!).

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