A council-funded drive to make SmartWater available across a West Midlands town has slashed instances of metal theft by 60%.
Sandwell Council provided its local police with funding to invest in SmartWater kits for residents of Tipton, in a drive to deter criminals who had been helping themselves to metal from across the neighbourhood.
Officers have been providing the kits to at-risk residents whilst also liaising with the area’s scrap metal merchants, to shut down the criminals’ opportunities to sell stolen metal.
The rising value of recycled metal has led to a country-wide surge in instances of theft, with thieves helping themselves to everything from copper piping to garden gates.
Lead member of Sandwell Council for Tipton, Councillor Joanne Hadley, said: “This is a real kick in the teeth to would-be metal thieves.
“They will not know that any metal items have been marked and when they try to sell them on the metal dealer will be able to check to see where it has come from and will know instantly if the item had been stolen.”
Councillor Hadley added that the dramatic drop in metal thefts had occurred as word had spread in the area about the wide use of SmartWater.
Sergeant Dave Rogers, of Tipton Police, said: “Scrap metal dealers have signed-up to the SmartWater scheme and they can tell instantly where any scrap metal has come from. More importantly, they will have details of the person that has tried to sell the scrap metal.
“It is a great scheme and we are pleased to have teamed-up with Sandwell Council to cut down on these sorts of thefts that blight people’s lives.”