A NEW operation has been launched in the London Borough of Greenwich, south-east London, to crackdown on the theft of valuable metals from businesses and public buildings in the borough.
Following a recent spate of metal thefts from schools, churches, council buildings and local businesses, the council has teamed up with local police and Selectamark to become one of the first London boroughs to take a tougher stance on metal theft.
Together they are targeting thieves and companies who profit from stolen materials such as lead roofs, copper phone cables, iron manhole covers, road signs and metal from catalytic converters from cars.
Targeted and vulnerable metals will be treated with Selectamark’s SelectaDNA Grease, a new forensic product which carries a unique DNA code that can be traced on stolen metals as well as clothing and the hands of anyone who comes into contact with it.
Greenwich Council has already begun treating metals with the grease and will be using it on buildings across the borough over the next few months.
Historic buildings such as the world-renowned Royal Observatory (home of Greenwich Mean Time, and built in 1675) and Charlton House, the best preserved Jacobean mansion in London (built in the early 1600s) will also be treated. Warning signs about the chemical property-marking are in place.
The council has introduced a number of additional measures to protect targeted metals, including:
• A registration scheme for scrap metal dealers and motor salvage yards. This will mean that companies will not be able to operate unless they are registered with Greenwich Council, and will have to keep detailed logs of all buyers and sellers, along with records of all their materials.
• Permission for local police and Greenwich Council licensing inspectors to visit salvage and scrap yards 24-hours a day to inspect any premises, its records, and any goods or materials.
• Registration packs that will be presented to around 30 known scrap dealers across the borough during site visits over the next few months.
• Licensing officers visiting firms believed to be handling metals.
Councillor Maureen O’Mara, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Services, said:
"We have launched this operation to ensure that scrap metal dealers are playing by the rules and any business found operating without having registered will be liable for a fine. These stolen metals are going somewhere and there are only so many places that are willing to buy, melt and sell them on.
“We hope the registration scheme and the DNA Grease marking will help us keep a closer track of materials and the dealers that handle them.”
Selectamark Security Systems plc, 1 Locks Court, 429 Crofton Road, Locksbottom, Kent, BR6 8NL. Telephone: +44 1689 860757.
E-mail: [email protected]
For further information and images contact: Angela Singleton, Press Officer for Selectamark.
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