POLICE in Northumbria have seen lead thefts plummet thanks to a crime prevention initiative using SelectaDNA Grease.
Over the last year, police in Jarrow and Hebburn identified commercial businesses which may be at risk from thieves targeting roof lead and helped to secure them using the special grease.
SelectaDNA can be painted onto lead roofing, copper piping and outdoor materials to protect them from theft. Any thieves who attempt to steal the metal will find themselves marked with the substance which has its own unique DNA.
If suspects are later stopped by police the unique property marking substance will show up on their skin and clothing, and will link them directly to the location of their crime.
Officers have also stepped up patrols in areas affected by metal theft to deter offenders and reassure businesses.
Neighbourhood Inspector Ian King, for Jarrow and Hebburn, said: "We're pleased that our crime prevention initiative has been successful, with thefts of lead from the roofs of commercial premises falling.
“In March and April 2011 there was a significant rise in the theft of lead with 17 reported to police. The same period in 2012 has seen just two offences reported.
“Metal theft is a big worry for businesses and missing lead can also cause leaking roofs, which are not only expensive to repair, but can cause a great deal of water damage to the premises.”
Inspector King continued: “We want to send a clear message to criminals that stealing lead from roofs is a crime that Officers take seriously. Police will track them down and bring them to court.
"Over the last year, 10 people have been arrested and four convicted of metal theft offences in our area and our focus on this issue will continue."
For further information and images contact: Angela Singleton, Press Officer for Selectamark.
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