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Greenwich Metal

SelectaDNA Grease (a forensic liquid that was recently featured in the BBC1 documentary Cars, Cops & Criminals) is being used by the London Borough of Greenwich in a new scheme to combat the growing problem of metal theft in the area. It is also being used to protect historic buildings such as the Royal Observatory and Charlton House.

Businesses and public buildings

After a recent spate of metal thefts from schools, churches, council buildings and businesses, the council teamed up with local police and security product firm Selectamark. They are targeting thieves and companies who profit from stolen materials such as lead roofs, copper phone cables, iron manhole covers, road signs and metal from catalytic converters from cars.

Targeted and vulnerable metals will be treated with Selectamark’s SelectaDNA Grease, a new forensic product which carries a unique DNA code that can be traced on stolen metals as well as clothing and the hands of anyone who comes into contact with it. Greenwich Council has already begun treating metals with the grease and will be using it on buildings across the borough over the next few months.

Historic buildings such as the Royal Observatory (home of Greenwich Mean Time, and built in 1675) and Charlton House, the best preserved Jacobean mansion in London (built in the early 1600s) will also be treated. Warning signs about the chemical property-marking are in place. The council has introduced a number of additional measures to protect targeted metals, including:

A registration scheme for scrap metal dealers and motor salvage yards. This will mean that companies will not be able to operate unless they are registered with Greenwich Council, and will have to keep detailed logs of all buyers and sellers, along with records of all their materials.

Permission for local police and Greenwich Council licensing inspectors to visit salvage and scrap yards 24-hours to inspect any premises, its records, and any goods or materials.

Registration packs that will be presented to around 30 known scrap dealers across the borough during site visits over the next few months; and

Licensing officers visiting firms believed to be handling metals.

What they say

Councillor Maureen O‚Mara, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Services, said: "We have launched this operation to ensure that scrap metal dealers are playing by the rules and any business found operating without having registered will be liable for a fine. These stolen metals are going somewhere and there are only so many places that are willing to buy, melt and sell them on. We hope the registration scheme and the DNA Grease marking will help us keep a closer track of materials and the dealers that handle them.”

For details

Write to Selectamark Security Systems plc, 1 Locks Court, 429 Crofton Road, Locksbottom, Kent, BR6 8NL. Telephone: 01689 860757 or e-mail:


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