FARMERS from Pembrokeshire are winning the fight against crime by marking agricultural machinery and farmyard equipment with forensic marking product SelectaDNA.
More than two years after a Farm Watch scheme was introduced by Dyfed-Powys Police, there have been ZERO burglaries reported from rural properties and outbuildings.
The scheme was initially launched in 2009 following a spate of tractor and tool thefts in the Haverfordwest area which disrupted production schedules on some farms.
SelectaDNA is a new forensic property marking product that can link property and offenders to the crime scheme by a unique DNA coding system.
The SelectaDNA formula consists of an ultraviolet tracer and an individual DNA code. The clear liquid can be applied to any items of value including mini-diggers, potato planters, trailers, ride-on mowers, hedge trimmers and fertiliser spreaders, to identify them as belonging to a particular farm.
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.
PCSO Jude Parr from Haverfordwest Rural Neighbourhood Policing Team, who was responsible for instigating the Farm Watch scheme, said:
"SelectaDNA has been very effective in deterring burglaries among our local farming community. There have been no burglaries reported since the start of the scheme over two years ago."
She continued: "We have been urging farmers and rural business owners to mark their property with SelectaDNA and this has been very effective in deterring burglary, so much so that we are introducing other crime reduction initiatives using the product."
PCSO Parr believes that one of the main reasons that rural burglary has been reduced in Haverfordwest is the use of high-visibility deterrent signage, which can be attached to farm outbuildings or entrance gates to warn thieves that SelectaDNA is being deployed.
She said: "Warning signage is vital as it can deter would-be thieves from breaking into a property in the first place. Thieves know that forensic marking can incriminate them and we think it is this that is putting them off their crime altogether."
Despite the success of forensic marking in the area, PCSO Laura Galdo from Dyfed- Powys Police, said:
"We are still encouraging all farmers to take simple crime prevention measures to avoid opportunistic theft, such as not leaving machinery and items of value insecure or unattended in easily accessible places.
"We also ask all farmers to be vigilant about suspicious people seen on or around their land and advise them to take as much detail as possible including vehicle registration plates and report the incidents to your local police station."
For further information and images contact: Angela Singleton, Press Officer for Selectamark.
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