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Burglary in Croydon has dropped since police started giving residents an invisible liquid containing traceable forensic codes to mark valuables.

Officers have been delivering the SmartWater kits to vulnerable homes as part of a Metropolitan Police scheme.

The liquid, which contains a unique code linking items to an address, has been distributed to homes in Broad Green, Heathfield, Norbury, South Norwood, Thornton Heath and West Thornton since May.

Four of these areas have experienced a drastic reduction in burglaries since then, with a drop of 45 per cent in Heathfield and 27 per cent in South Norwood.

In January, there were 257 burglaries in the borough compared to 307 in the same month last year.

Detective Inspector Richard McDonagh said most burglary offences are in the north of the borough – but not everyone offered a kit has accepted one.

“It may be due to a breakdown in communication,” Det Ins McDonagh said. “The kits should give people peace of mind.

The kits are planned to be rolled out in the south of the borough this year.

In August, the Advertiser reported Kenley had been named by police as a burglary “hot spot”, with residents taking crime prevention into their own hands.

Kenley and District Residents’ Association (Kendra) was given £8,000 from the Mayor of London to buy and distribute kits to homes in streets where burglaries have taken place. So far, it has distributed 130 kits, with 140 more on order.

Anthony Lewis, police liaison officer for Kendra, said there have been no repeat offences at address where kits have been delivered.


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