OVER 50 boats and various items of equipment belonging to members of a boat club near Salcombe, in south Devon, have been marked with SelectaDNA following the introduction of a scheme to deter marine theft.
Kingsbridge Estuary Boat Club’s vice-chairman Ian Drinkwater founded the Boatwatch scheme recently to protect members’ boats which range in value from a few hundred pounds to £15,000.
Since the introduction of Boatwatch, which also involves marking items of marine equipment such as outboard engines, portable fuel tanks, electronic instruments and lightweight dinghies, harbour theft has reduced significantly in the upper estuary area which covers Kingsbridge, Frogmore and Bowcombe creeks.
Mr Drinkwater, who is also the co-ordinator of the scheme, organises two marking days at the beginning of each season where members can bring along their boats and equipment to be marked. Visible stickers stating that the boat has been forensically marked with SelectaDNA are also used as an added deterrent.
SelectaDNA is a revolutionary product that is one of the most secure forensic marking systems available today. It comes in liquid form as a safe, non-toxic water-based adhesive with a unique forensic code. Property can be marked with the liquid and it is virtually impossible to remove. Any traces of the liquid will then be shown up under an ultra-violet light and, because of the unique forensic code, the property can then be traced back to its rightful owner.
Mr Drinkwater said: “Our plan has been to discourage crime in our area rather than catch criminals with maximum publicity.
“When I agreed to start Boatwatch, I recruited volunteers to become watch leaders and members of patrols. We now have approximately 130 family members, 11 watch leaders and about 80 patrol members.”
He continued: “We operate random patrols, day or night, through the main season plus informal operations through the off-season when quite a lot of boats are still on their moorings.
“At the moment, we only patrol the upper estuary where our members are. These patrols can be conducted by boat or on foot as the tides allow. We operate a high-visibility system with marked jackets, mobile phones and high-power spotlights. We can also communicate direct with the local police station if required.”
Mr Drinkwater concluded: “The combination of random, high visibility patrols, strong support from the Salcombe harbour master and the local police in Kingsbridge, plus a versatile marking system such as SelectaDNA combines to offer us a very effective deterrent to marine crime in our area.”
Selectamark Security Systems plc, 1 Locks Court, 429 Crofton Road, Locksbottom, Kent, BR6 8NL. Telephone: +44 1689 860757.
Kingsbridge Estuary Boat Club website: http://www.kebc.co.uk
For further information and images contact: Angela Singleton, Press Officer for Selectamark.
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