AN INVISIBLE grease has been unveiled as the latest weapon in the war against drain cover thieves.
Northumbria Police are working with Sunderland City Council to deter the theft of gully covers, which have a high scrap value.
SelectaDNA Grease is an invisible solution with a unique marking property which can link thieves to a crime scene. It has been applied to drain covers in various areas of Sunderland, from the city centre to semi-rural roadsides on the County Durham boundary.
Scrap metal merchants in the city and in neighbouring areas, including County Durham, are being told about the marking scheme and warned of the risks of buying stolen gully covers.
Leaflets are being distributed to dealers pointing out the grease's effectiveness in identifying both the thieves and the stolen metal items.
SelectaDNA Grease transfers onto hands or clothing and is almost impossible to remove. An ultraviolet light is used to expose traces of the substance on suspected thieves.
Ron Odunaiya, Sunderland council's executive director of city services, said: "As well as the financial implications, the theft of gully covers also leaves drainage shafts unprotected. That creates the risk of serious personal injury to any adult or young child, as well as possible damage to vehicles using the highway."
Thieves have, in the past, been found to sell stolen gully covers from the city to scrap dealers outside the immediate Wearside area. The use of the grease is intended to quickly ensure it will be difficult to sell on stolen goods to scrap merchants in any locality.
Residents in the Sunderland area have been informed that any persons working on gulley covers will have arrived in a council van and will carry a council identification card. If there is any suspicion that they are not council workers they are advised to contact the police.
Mr Odunaiya concluded: “This preventative action is a further indication of the council’s determination to deter activity by irresponsible people which affects the safety of our thoroughfares and the quality of life in our neighbourhoods.”
For further information and images contact: Angela Singleton, Press Officer for Selectamark.
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