Success for pioneering deterrent

DETECTIVES in Lowestoft have hailed the success of a pioneering 'deterrent' launched a year ago to combat burglars in Lowestoft

Last December, SmartWater was launched in the town to enable people have their televisions, audio equipment, jewellery, laptops and mobile phones uniquely marked – and over the past 12 months it has become an increasingly important weapon for police in their efforts to promote crime prevention. More than 1,000 homes have now signed up to the scheme.

SmartWater is a colourless odourless liquid that forensically links burglars to crime scenes and stolen property.

Once an item has been painted with SmartWater, the identifying mark is virtually impossible to remove, meaning that if a stolen item of jewellery or piece of equipment is found by police, it can be traced straight back to the property it came from.

Anyone found in possession of property marked with SmartWater that is suspected to have been stolen will be arrested, and police are warning those buying or selling such items that they are likely to face criminal charges. Det Insp Darrell Skuse said: 'If you're offered something for sale in a pub or off the back of lorry you should think twice.


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'If it's marked with SmartWater we know who owns it. If you are found in possession of stolen property you will be arrested. Suddenly that cheap laptop or TV you bought has become a nightmare.'

He added: 'SmartWater is also proving to be an effective deterrent.Householders who have taken advantage of the offer can display stickers that say items within their home have been marked and we believe, to date, that there have been just one or two burglaries at premises that have got SmartWater.

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'In one of these cases the offenders were traced by police and items that had been marked were recovered and positively identified as coming from the burgled home, thanks to the marking. Two teenage boys were subsequently charged,' Det Insp Skuse added.

'We scan for SmartWater so even if the burglary has not been reported at the time an item is recovered we can check with the rightful owners.'

Since its inception in Lowestoft, SmartWater has been adopted at various locations across Suffolk. Funding for the scheme locally came from Waveney Community Safety Partnership, Waveney Local Strategic Partnership and Suffolk Police, with this initial cash meaning households across the town have been able to take advantage of the marking initiative free of charge.

For more details about SmartWater in Lowestoft visit www.suffolk.police.uk or if you have any information about burglaries or those buying or selling stolen property please call Suffolk Police on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers, anonymously if required, on 0800 555 111.

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