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Chains Marked

The Mayor of Castle Point in Essex has had his chains of office forensically marked to show the importance of protecting valuable items.

The event was organised by Castle Point Borough Council in recognition of a recent National Burglary Day of Action. Inspector Darren Wiles, who is in charge of several Neighbourhood Police teams in the Castle Point district, marked the chains with SelectaDNA, a forensic marking product that contains a unique DNA code.

Castle Point Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP) has already purchased hundreds of SelectaDNA marking kits to help residents protect their belongings from thieves.

The Mayor, Councillor Norman Ladzrie, said: "The Mayoral chains won’t be damaged in any way because the mark is invisible to the naked eye. But it is a valuable item, and like the valuable items people have in their own homes it should be security marked. It really is important that people take care of their property and hopefully this event will inspire residents to consider their own security precautions."

SelectaDNA is a new forensic marking system which can protect personal items of value such as jewellery, antiques, mobile phones and iPods. The SelectaDNA formula consists of an ultraviolet tracer and an individual DNA code. The clear liquid can be applied to any household items including flatscreen TVs and laptops to identify them as belonging to a particular property. If an item is stolen and later recovered by police, it can be scanned using a UV light and traced back to the rightful owner via the DNA marking.

Statistics show that by marking belongings and displaying warning stickers, residents can reduce their chance of being burgled by up to 85 per cent.

Councillor Tony Belford, cabinet member for community safety for Castle Point Borough Council, said: "Castle Point is a low crime area, but even one burglary is too many. So we would encourage residents to take basic precautions to keep their home and property secure. It doesn‚t matter who you are or where you live, simple steps like marking your property can make all the difference."

DNA convictions

Two persistent criminal offenders have been convicted of theft from motor vehicles in Lancashire following the use of SelectaDNA Gel – a new transferable forensic gel – in police ‘bait’ cars.

Lancashire Police’s Wyre Target Team, led by Sergeant Steve Bell, has been using a variety of measures to target known thieves in the area with the aim of reducing and detecting vehicle crime offences.

The team’s main tactic has been the use of bait cars, which appear completely normal to the untrained eye, but contain hidden cameras which capture images of the thief in action. This footage can later be used as evidence in Court.

A number of bait cars are being deployed in the Wyre area and valuable items within them have been smeared with the latest SelectaDNA Gel, which contains a unique DNA code. Once the thief comes into contact with the clear gel, it transfers onto their hands and clothing. The criminal is then irrefutably linked to the crime scene.

After breaking into a bait car, Colin Gibson from Fleetwood, Lancashire, was arrested and convicted of stealing a satellite navigation system and was given 10 weeks in prison. Stephen Holden, also from Fleetwood, was caught stealing a laptop and got a five month sentence. Both criminals were caught on camera and the footage was made available for viewing in Court.

PC Knights said: "The use of bait vehicles has been a great success and has been directly attributed to the arrest and conviction of several prolific and persistent offenders. We know who is committing crime and this tactic provides the court with overwhelming evidence. To date, all suspects have pleaded guilty at their first appearance at court. This reduces the need for unnecessary court appearances and ensures swift entry into the criminal justice system."

With two million vehicle-related thefts in the UK every year and sat nav theft continuing to rise, drivers are being urged to take simple precautions when parking their cars. Sergeant Steve Bell said: "Please think before you leave valuables unattended in your car. Always remove your satellite navigation system and its cradle from the car and ensure any tell tale ‘sucker’ marks are wiped off the windscreen."

Derbyshire Dales

And officers from the Safer Neighbourhood team at Derbyshire Police have been visiting 250 homes in the Wirksworth area as part of a new scheme to offer advice to local people to reduce the risk of having their homes broken into.

Crime Reduction Officer PC John Riley with PCSOs Sue Lester and Josh Brooking have been talking to residents about home security, offering them SelectaDNA forensic marking kits to protect their belongings, and completing checklists to find out if they need any additional support.

PC Riley, who is running the scheme, said: "We’re completing these checks to help prevent crime and deter thieves. As a result of these visits we will also be able to identify vulnerable members of the community who may need the additional support of other agencies in the area."

According to Home Office figures, the Derbyshire Dales is considered one of the safest places to live in England, with traditionally low crime. However, the Wirksworth area has suffered recently from a spate of domestic dwelling burglaries and shed break-ins.

As part of the scheme, officers are giving Wirksworth residents the chance to mark property using SelectaDNA kits, funded by the Safer Derbyshire Dales Community Safety Partnership.

SelectaDNA is a new forensic marking system which can protect personal items of value such as laptops, flatscreen TVs, mobile phones and iPods. Each kit contains a bottle of the SelectaDNA formula, which consists of an ultraviolet tracer and a unique DNA code.

The clear liquid can be applied by residents to any household items to identify them as belonging to their property. If an item is stolen and later recovered by police, it can be scanned using a UV light and traced back to the rightful owner via the DNA marking. The campaign is a joint trial initiative between the Safer Derbyshire Dales Community Safety Partnership and the Safer Neighbourhood team. If successful, it could be rolled out to other parts of the Derbyshire Dales and also the High Peak.

Councillor Lewis Rose OBE, the Chair of the Safer Derbyshire Dales Community Safety Partnership, said: "This initiative is another good example of Partnership working within the Dales and will help it to remain one of the safest places to live, work and visit."


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