Thursday, 16 February 2012

Smart Gel set to scupper scrap metal thieves

Vulnerable premises in the Wyre are being provided with special property marking kits to help thwart scrap metal thieves.

The kits, funded by the Wyre Community Safety Partnership, contain a DNA-based gel which is used to coat items that may prove tempting to thieves. The gel fluoresces under ultra violet lighting, either on the property itself or the person that has handled it.

Police officers in Wyre will be carrying ultra violet torches when conducting stop checks, house searches and while making visits to scrap metal dealer premises. If traces of the gel are then discovered, the substance’s unique DNA-style code will enable officers to trace the property back to the source where it originated from.

“Metal theft is a significant issue for us and it can cause real problems for the victims," says Inspector Gary Roberts, Lancashire Police. "Replacing stolen materials can be expensive but there can be additional costs if the thieves have caused damage while removing the metal, or if there is flooding as a result of the metal being taken from roofs or windows.

“These kits will help us identify stolen property and people who have been involved in carrying out this type of crime. Metal theft will not be tolerated and we will proactively target criminals that steal metal or assist in the disposal of stolen metal. I want to send a clear message to criminals that if they commit metal theft in Wyre, they will be caught and brought to justice.”

Councillor Roger Berry, cabinet member with responsibility for community safety on Wyre Council, said: "We're pleased to be able to provide these kits and hope they will go some way to tackling metal thefts and burglaries in the area.

"Residents need to make sure that they take precautions to protect their property, including securing any equipment they may have in their gardens and sheds. People also need to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police."

The gel was created by SelectaDNA, over 75% of UK Police Forces are now using it to reduce burglaries, in-house theft, vehicle crime and metal theft, and that number is still growing. Behind the scenes, Technical Police Departments are using the SelectaDNA markers for undercover surveillance and sting operations.

SelectaDNA claims that theirpartners including Police, businesses and home owners are achieving reductions in crime of up to 85 per cent.

The DNA marker in every SelectaDNA product is securely manufactured and encrypted so that unauthorised or criminal duplication is impossible. The company also offers property marking services to schools, universities and both large and small businesses.

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