EMPTY council housing properties in Darlington that are undergoing repairs or awaiting new tenants are being protected from burglary by SelectaDNA, a hi-tech forensic marking system.
Following a recent increase in metal theft of items such as boilers and copper piping in the local area, Darlington Borough Council is taking positive action by marking fittings and fixtures in all of their properties before thieves can get their hands on them.
The costs associated with this scheme are minimal and involves housing officers visiting void properties and using a SelectaDNA kit to mark the items with a unique DNA code. Details of the code are kept on a secure database and can be used to trace stolen boilers or pipes. It also allows police to link criminals caught stealing metal to the exact crime scenes.
Councillor Veronica Copeland, Darlington Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Housing said: “Empty properties can be vulnerable to metal theft unless they are properly protected. Thieves see empty properties as an easier target than those that are occupied. But by using SelectaDNA we are determined to make our homes as secure as possible.
“Metal items in our empty homes are now permanently marked and this immediately devalues the items, making them harder to sell on. It is impossible for a thief to remove the marking and it will be immediately obvious to a police officer if someone has tried to do that.”
Councillor Copeland added: “Metal thieves need to be aware that they are now much more likely to get caught than get away with property from empty council housing in the Darlington area.”
For further information and images contact: Angela Singleton, Press Officer for Selectamark.
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