First freestanding James Bond-style vault opens in Bristol

Bristol’s first private vault has opened on Colston Avenue in central Bristol alongside a new business selling gold bullion.

The Vaults groupEurope’s largest provider of private safes, has invested almost £1 million in the purpose-built premises.

Built from scratch in the basement of an office building, the safes are protected by state-of-the-art security and state-of-the-art technology, exceeding the standards set by banks.

The Bristol Vault has hundreds of vaults of varying sizes and expandable to several thousand vaults. These can be rented on an annual basis from just £170 per year.

Sophisticated security systems including seismic shock sensors, 24-hour monitoring and biometric identification technology ensure that access to any enclosure is restricted to only the authorized person.

Bristol Vaults offers £10,000 free insurance on all rental boxes, with additional insurance available up to £500,000 per box.

Bristol has been chosen as the next location for the Vaults Group to open a facility, after receiving over 400 advance enquiries.

It’s already attracting customers within a 30-mile radius of town, given the lack of rental safes in the area, with dozens of safes scavenged by individuals and businesses since the safe opened. on his list in advance a few weeks ago.

Scheduled to employ up to ten staff at full capacity, the Bristol Vaults team has already seen a surge in gold bullion sales, with particular interest in sovereigns at the helm of Queen Elizabeth II.

Dublin-headquartered Vaults Group’s rapidly expanding business was launched when the owners spotted a gap in the market left by the closure of most bank security deposit businesses.

Made popular in the public consciousness through films like James Bond and more recently the Bourne and Harry Potter franchises, the resurgence of safe deposit boxes has been spurred by rising rates of burglary, rising home insurance premiums , fears about the rate of inflation, worldwide economic volatility and, more recently, the decline in the value of the pound.

In addition to cash and heirlooms like jewelry, boxes are often used to store important documents such as title deeds, leases and wills, or items of sentimental value that are difficult or expensive to replace. .

Interest is also driven by the rise of wearable assets such as luxury watches and for storing cryptocurrency. They are increasingly used by companies concerned about the risk of hacking, to store backup data on USB keys and computer hard drives.

Séamus Fahy, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Vaults Group, which owns and operates Bristol Vaults, said: “We look forward to providing a much-needed service that will ultimately bring peace of mind to people who need a safe haven for their precious and irreplaceable possessions.

“Cost-cutting measures at major banks mean that secure storage has been largely phased out and customers therefore have nowhere to store their valuables.”

Police forces frequently recommend that valuables be stored outside the home, with criminals targeting individual households where they anticipate wealthy pickings and can breach home security systems.

For example, earlier this year in Bristol, a safe containing a collection of gold coins and sovereigns worth thousands of dollars was torn from an interior wall in a retirement home in Sneyd Park during a high value heist.

In the UK, British Asian communities are often the target of thieves as they usually give gold jewelery as gifts on milestone birthdays and for weddings and therefore they are the main market for safes.

Economic downturns also tend to be accompanied by increased unemployment and burglaries.

In 2021/22 there were 4,290 burglaries in Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset, according to neighborhood crime figures from hyper-local police.

This represents a 5.7% increase over the previous year, with only 4% of offenders being prosecuted for burglaries at residential properties.

“Burglars have become much more sophisticated. They know the use of “dummy” safes, storage behind fake electrical outlets and in fake tin cans and today they arrive with blockers to cut off the signal of alarms connected by telephone” says Séamus.

“But it’s not just fear of crime that drives interest. Uncertainties in the global economy, currency volatility, inflation and loss of confidence in the banking system all play a role.

“We see a lot of customers buying gold and then renting a box to store it in and very recently we’ve had a run on gold sovereigns from people who want a memento of the former queen’s reign and believe that they will appreciate in value over time.

“Our clientele is extremely diverse – it’s not just high net worth individuals. We have young people who want to store their cryptocurrency and regularly convert their savings into gold, old people who protect their family heirlooms and, increasingly, businesses who choose to store irreplaceable data.

Image courtesy of Jon Craig Photos