Question - Manhole Keys

  • Welcome to - 28DL - The UK Urban Exploring / Urban Exploration / Urbex Forums.

    Asylums and Hospitals, High Stuff, Industrial, Leisure Sites, Residential Sites, Military Sites, Mines and Quarries, ROC Posts, Theatres and Cinemas, Draining, Underground Sites, European and International Sites, Leads, Rumours and News, Kit, Clothing, Equipment, Photography and Video sections plus a lot more.

    Please feel free to browse this website as a guest. Creating an account removes some ads, allows you to post replies, start new topics and threads, and gives you access to more features including bookmarking, live chat, messaging and notification systems.

    Create an account | Login | Request new password


Got nekkid in a warehouse
28DL Full Member
Jun 19, 2011
Something myself and Xan were pondering the other day as we were talking about our standard equip. Do manhole keys fall into the same category of equipment as a crowbar does? Are they tools?

ie if I've got one with my kit and I'm stopped and searched will I get pulled for going equipped? Tried googling the question and got nothing, there doesn't appear to be anything about keys on 28dl either. Would appreciate any insight anyone might have :)


Staff member
Nov 24, 2008
If you get an awkward copper then they could try it on, the last time I got busted which wasn't drain related, I had slings, crabs, drain keys and all manner of crap in my bag, despite me been unlucky enough to be dealt with by a right difficult cunt not once did they ask any questions about afore mentioned items.

The security guard told them I was a terrorist, I can see why after being caught 2 levels down below a high profile building during the daytime :D

I guess it's the luck of the draw really


Staff member
Nov 24, 2008
I've been grilled over having just a sling once before, it was a long time ago now like, they asked why it was in my bag, can't even remember my response

EDIT: And once "what do you need a head torch for" Hmm, that would be because it's winter and dark then eh


Just Reckless.
28DL Full Member
Aug 8, 2010
North Devon
I don't think there is a set list of tools, its how the officer interprets it, there are obvious things they will class as going equipped though. Even having a lighter but no fags they could say you were going equipped to torch the place. lol


The Human Turbine.
Regular User
Nov 3, 2006
End of the day, it depends on the copper and the circumstances involved, although unrelitive to the circumstances of drain exploration, I've heard a story of a mate been pinned because he had a Swiss army knife on him!

Generally, Police are so baffled by the fact people actually want to go down drains, the charge of 'Going equipped' as far as I know has never come into it before.


Got Epic?
Staff member
Nov 15, 2005
Suffolk / Birmingham
Be interesting to see it go to court. On the one hand trespassing in drains isnt exactly a legitimate reason to have them but its not criminal either so would that count as a valid reason to have them and hence a valid defence?

lifting manholes isnt criminal damage and looking in drains isnt burglary

Been busted coming out of a cable tunnel with a set and walked away within 5 mins. Luck of the draw i guess.


28DL Memb3r
Regular User
Jun 6, 2007
Also going equipped is actually "going equipped to steal" so if your not planning on stealing thats fine (fine by me anyway). Problem is you have to convince them of that, yes to be charged they need to prove you had intent but they can still take you down the station for XX amount of hours before they release you without charge.

Convincing them your not stealing is harder nowadays as metal theft is so rife, there are manhole covers going missing all over, on my parents street pikeys lifted a manhole took the lid off the junction box below (to weigh in) put the manhole back, no one was any wiser until months later after heavy rain is shorted out tripping the electrics for the area.

So basically this
End of the day, it depends on the copper and the circumstances involved,
and this:
Generally, Police are so baffled by the fact people actually want to go down drains,
Best not to carry them when not needed. getting busted can be anything to nothing, a lot of explaining, potentially a night in till they let you go. Same as general exploring really just increases the odds.

Have fun, stay safe :thumb


Do. Find. Drains.
28DL Full Member
Jul 22, 2007
Sydney, Australia
If they are being dicks and want to take you down the station they will, whether due to being equipped, or a suspected terrorist. As for proving your innocent intentions, a bank of 800 photos of drains from around the world would probably suffice (for example).


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Oct 5, 2007
I usually have some in my car but tend to limit how much time I spend carrying them on my person. It's likely to be more aggro with little lasting effect.
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
S Kit / Clothing / Equipment 33

Similar threads