Metal thieves even more likely to be caught thanks to new Redditch project (From Redditch Advertiser)
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Metal thieves even more likely to be caught thanks to new Redditch project
8:40am Sunday 10th March 2013 in News
METALS across Redditch have been coated with high-tech invisible markings that scrap dealers will detect, reject, and report as stolen.
Following the nationwide ban on cash transactions for scrap metal and dealers requiring sellers to produce identification, Redditch’s metal marking project – dubbed ‘red lead’ after the distinctive bright red colour that marked metals glow when tested – aims to further reduce metal theft.
Criminals who steal or handle marked property are forensically linked to the crime scene and run an increased risk of being brought to justice.
Scrap dealers, such as early adopters Arrow Metals in Lakeside, now have testing equipment on site.
Dan O’Gorman from Arrow Metals said: “We’re delighted to be on board with this marking scheme, because it benefits our real customers, helps protect our business, and improves public safety too.”
Redditch Council, working with West Mercia Police, used the commercially-available forensic marking product ‘RedWeb’ to invisibly mark vulnerable metals on residential and public buildings, thanks to funding from North Worcestershire Community Safety Partnership and the borough council.
RedWeb contains thousands of microscopic codes linking marked property to a registered owner. Police and community support officers are trained to routinely search for and recover forensically marked metals.
Attempts to remove it result in it contaminating the offender’s premises, clothes and vehicles and offenders brought into custody are frequently scanned for forensic marking. The codes can be read and property identified from the smallest trace.
Redditch councillor Rebecca Blake, who is responsible for community safety, said: “The scheme will help law abiding scrap metal dealers identify stolen goods and will reduce the trade in illegal scrap metal, estimated to cost £770 million a year nationwide.”
Redditch District Inspector Ian Joseph said: “This partnership initiative is a further example of the very positive work we have been doing with registered dealers to ‘harden’ their premises, making it much less likely that thieves will try to unload stolen metal there in the future.
“Metal theft of all types has a negative impact upon our communities and we are determined to root out those involved.”
Anyone with information about metal thefts can contact West Mercia Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.