SHROPSHIRE VILLAGE MAKES SMART MOVE TO STOP CRIME

Every household in Higher Heath, near Whitchurch, will soon be visited by West Mercia Police officers as part of the We Don’t Buy Crime scheme, which will see every property given security and property-marking packs.

Signs will also be put up around the village announcing the scheme is in place.

It centres around the use of SmartWater. The Shropshire-based company’s traceable liquid can be used on property of all sorts to source it back to the rightful owner if stolen.

Cleobury Mortimer became the first town in the county to get involved with the project last year, but Higher Heath is the first community in the north of the county to get involved.

Sergeant Tim Lever, of West Mercia Police’s north Shropshire safer neighbourhood team, led the project in partnership with Prees Parish Council, Gary Higgins from SmartWater and the West Mercia We Don’t Buy Crime team.

Sgt Lever secured funding so residents will not be asked to financially contribute to the scheme.

He said: “The driving force behind the project was our wish to prevent further victims of crime.

“Arrests have been made in relation to the most recent burglaries but we would prefer they hadn’t happened at all.

“SmartWater is a proven method of catching criminals red-handed and returning property to owners. Every police officer and police station is equipped with detection equipment.

“There really is no escape if you steal an item marked with SmartWater or get any on yourself. It cannot be removed.

“If criminals are contaminated with Smart Water or have stolen property in their possession it is easily identified with the assistance of the SmartWater laboratories based at Telford.”

He added: “We are in the process of putting up signs to inform would-be criminals that SmartWater is being used in the area. They have been warned.

“Every residential property will soon be visited by a member of the project which is comprised of the local policing team, special constables, police cadets and local councillors.

“We will provide enough SmartWater to residents for them to mark all items of their property from jewellery to mobile phones and laptops to garden machinery such as strimmers and lawnmowers.”

Councillor Paul Wynn, who represents Prees on Shropshire Council, said: “I am very pleased this has been rolled out in Higher Heath.

“It will be a great scheme for the area.”

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