Locks and Security News: your weekly locks and security industry newsletter
28th October 2020 Issue no. 531
Your industry news - first
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SmartWater aids identification of huge stolen metals haul
Dozens of SmartWater marked graveyard memorial plaques, along with other metal ornaments and a large quantity of cash, have been seized during a police-led Day of Action at a South London scrap yard.
The raid in Croydon, attended by the Metropolitan Police and partner agencies, including SmartWater investigators, revealed a haul of metal plaques, a three feet tall ornamental dragon thought to be worth £3,500, a statue of Christ and a metal cross.
Officers believe many of the plaques, more than 60 in total, were taken from graveyards and crematoria in and around Croydon. Some were intact, though many had been cut into pieces to try and mask identifying marks before being melted down.
Investigators discovered traces of SmartWater forensic marking solution on the plaques as well as on cutting equipment at the site. Analysis of the SmartWater marked items will now be carried out to identify exactly where the items came from as well as their true owner.
As a result of the recovery, the owner of the Croydon scrap metal yard along with an employee were arrested on suspicion of possessing unlawfully gained metal. They have since been charged with receiving and converting stolen goods and remanded in custody.
Chief Executive of SmartWater Technology Ltd, Phil Cleary, said: "This was a huge find, with evidence pointing to the systematic theft of memorial plaques from graveyards and crematoria in the Croydon area. Despite this being a heartless thing to do, sadly it is not uncommon.
"SmartWater investigators regularly attend Police-led days of action, and this recovery underlines the crucial role that SmartWater can play in identifying stolen metals. We will continue to work with our partners to target handlers and receivers of stolen metals and provide supporting forensic evidence to the Police to assist with criminal convictions."
In 2011 the SmartWater Foundation, in partnership with War Memorials Trust, launched In Memoriam 2014, a project which set out to locate, record and protect by SmartWater marking, all of the UK's war memorials which are vulnerable to metal theft. This latest recovery underlines the importance of the project. More information on the initiative is available at www.inmemoriam2014.org.
The find in the Croydon scrap yard was part of a wider Police operation carried out over two days which resulted in ten arrests and the recovery of stolen vehicles as well as metal.
SmartWater is detectable under ultraviolet light, allowing investigating teams to quickly establish its presence while on-site. The unique chemical code within the solution can be analysed to identify the true owner of any marked item. The use of this technology has resulted in more than 1,000 convictions in criminal cases around the UK, with a 100 per cent success rate where SmartWater has been presented as part of the evidence.
30th May 2012