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Marine launch

Salcombe Harbour, in south Devon, pictured, has a new anti-theft initiative between Salcombe Harbour Authority and Devon and Cornwall Police. The authorities are offering SelectaDNA Marine kits for boat owners to forensically mark boating equipment such as outboard engines, portable fuel tanks, electronic instruments and lightweight dinghies.

Marine property can be marked in a few minutes with the SelectaDNA solution (, which contains a forensic code. Its makers say the product is virtually impossible to remove the marking once applied and it shows up clearly under ultraviolet (UV) light. This allows police to trace marked equipment back to its owner. Visible stickers warning that the boat has been forensically marked with SelectaDNA are also being used as a deterrent.

Adam Parnell, Salcombe Harbour Master, said: “Despite only suffering low levels of marine crime in the estuary last year we want to ensure that Salcombe is not seen as a ‘soft’ target for marine crime. We recognise that marine vessels are sometimes seen as ‘soft’ targets because they are often unattended but this initiative will hopefully deter theft which can be distressing and expensive for the owners and have a detrimental impact more widely.”

The initiative, which launched with a crime awareness event to which boat club members were invited, complements a recent upgrade of the harbour’s CCTV.

Mr Parnell said: “If deterrence fails we can better detect and then track stolen goods. Some of the vessels at Salcombe are already marked, but our aim is that up to 100 more vessels in the harbour are security marked as a deterrent and to reinforce the message that marine crime in the Harbour isn’t tolerated.”

The Harbour Authority will continue to arrange and promote marine marking events at Salcombe to encourage boat owners to take better care of their valuables.


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