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Police using new methods to stop metal thefts
FOLLOWING a spate of metal thefts from a cemetery, Bromley police are taking steps to try and stop it happening again.
Around 80 bronze memorial plaques were stolen from Beckenham Crematorium and Cemetery in September, as reported by News Shopper.
Now the Clock House Safer Neighbourhood Team [SNT] have ensured every plaque in the cemetery is marked with a special liquid known as SmartWater.
SmartWater codes property with a forensic DNA style solution which is uniquely registered to the owner.
Though it is invisible to the eye, when it is placed under ultraviolet light it glows to reveal a unique chemical signature, which means stolen property can be traced on a database.
Janet Tucker, 58, of Penderry Rise, Catford, became one of the victims of the thefts when the plaque from her father’s grave was stolen.
She said: “I don’t know if it’s going to make an awful lot of difference but it’s a step in the right direction.
“If it stops it happening to someone else it will be worth it because it’s not a nice feeling at all.”
The team spent hours on Sunday making sure every plaque in the cemetery was marked.
Sergeant Mark Shrubsole, head of the Clock House SNT, said: “The invisibility of SmartWater means that thieves and burglars are now at a much increased risk of arrest when committing offences in this area.
“Once SmartWater is on you, you might not know about it until you walk through our custody doors. Officers will also be carrying UV torches with them whilst out on patrol so those who commit crime will remain at constant risk of being arrested at any time".
Safer Neighbourhood Teams will be visiting scrap metal dealers and commercial premises that buy second-hand property across the borough and encouraging them to use UV torches to scan for SmartWater and confirm ownership.