Burglaries have fallen dramatically in two Shropshire communities following the introduction of a crime prevention scheme.
Police are hailing the success of a drive to hand out property-marking fluid SmartWater to all residents of Cleobury Mortimer in south Shropshire and Higher Heath in the north of the county.
In three months since the kits were handed out to 500 homes in Higher Heath, near Whitchurch, only one burglary or theft has been reported – compared to 18 in the previous three months, police say.
In Cleobury Mortimer there has not been a single burglary since the introduction of the We Don’t Buy Crime scheme, which was rolled out with the town council and local volunteers in November last year, compared to six burglaries during the same period in 2014 to 2015.
The scheme was pioneered in Cleobury, where kits were handed out to 1,400 homes across the town, along with street signs and stickers put up to warn would-be thieves.
Telford-based SmartWater’s forensic marking liquid glows under UV light, and each household has its own unique “code” within the liquid that can then be used to match stolen products to their owners.
Detective Chief Inspector Tom Harding said: “The We Don’t Buy Crime initiative is clearly making parts of the region no-go areas for people intent on committing theft and burglary and if they do commit offences then they are much more likely to be caught and brought to justice.
“Police officers now carry UV detection torches and are able to stop and check people and property for the presence of SmartWater. This allows them to quickly link people to the scene of a crime. “As a result, committing offences in We Don’t Buy Crime areas carries a significantly increased risk for any would be criminal.”
He added: “By working with local people we have seen that we can prevent them becoming a victim of crime. Everyone can take advantage of the benefits of security marking their belongings at a reduced price as part of this initiative.”
The We Don’t Buy Crime initiative was launched across the Warwickshire and West Mercia policing areas last year, aimed at tackling a range of acquisitive crimes such as theft, burglary, car crime and pick-pocketing.
The initiative is being run in partnership with Telford-based SmartWater who manufacture and supply marking products carry a unique forensic code registered to a specific address. Once applied, it is almost impossible to remove and can only be seen under UV light.
Phil Cleary, chief executive and co-founder of SmartWater added: “SmartWater has helped the police secure hundreds of convictions and has a proven track record in the criminal courts. “The criminal fraternities know full well the risks of taking on SmartWater and this creates a powerful deterrent that benefits residential and business communities.
“We are delighted to see the reduction in burglary in Higher Heath and Cleobury Mortimer and are confident this success will continue.”