THE theft of lead from roofs of public buildings such as churches, schools and council buildings has been a major problem in areas throughout the UK.
However, Selectamark’s latest product SelectaDNA Grease has been acting as a very efficient deterrent to thieves, who can earn anything up to £800 per tonne for dealing in stolen scrap lead.
Dave McGrath who runs DPM Leadwork Ltd, a lead roofing company in Farnham, Surrey, has been using the forensic grease on any new roofs he has installed and he is very pleased with how effective the product has been and how easy it is to use.
SelectaDNA Grease can be painted onto any zinc metal, copper piping or lead roofing. Once a thief handles the metal, the grease transfers onto their hands and clothing. The criminal is then irrefutably linked to the crime scene. The grease is almost impossible to remove, and contains both a UV tracer and a unique DNA code.
Mr McGrath said: “We specialise in lead roofing, so this product is very interesting to us. I have been very impressed by the product, which is simple to use and does what is says it will.
“Our clients have also been very pleased with us, as they feel they are getting an added service when we lay a new lead roof for them and then offer to protect it from thieves with SelectaDNA Grease.”
DPM Leadwork have also been kept busy recently replacing lead roofs on school buildings.
Lead theft from schools can cause massive inconvenience, with lessons often disrupted. If part of a school roof is stolen it can make the building unsafe and could leak if it rains. The school would have to be closed until the problem is fixed.
Mr McGrath said: “We recently laid a new lead roof at a private school in Cranleigh, Surrey, which cost £12,000. We applied the forensic grease to the roof afterwards in order to deter thieves from targeting the school again. We have also put up warning signs within the school grounds as an added deterrent.”
He continued: “Another property we have worked on recently was a residential home in Godalming, Surrey, where the owners were very pleased for the added protection when we laid a new £4,000 roof for them and painted the grease on it afterwards. And the vicar at the local church hadn’t even noticed that the lead roofing had been taken until it started to rain and the roof leaked! We have since fixed that one too.”
Local police have been called out on many occasions after lead thieves have struck in the Surrey area. Detective Constable Kevin Ford of Farnham CID has been aware of the growing crime wave. He said: “There is no doubt that lead theft has been an increasing problem over the past few months. No building with a lead roof is safe – churches, schools and homes have all been targeted by thieves looking to make money by selling the lead on.
“It really is a major inconvenience for the victims of the crime. The owners or caretakers of the property have to make the roof watertight as quickly as possible to avoid further damage to the building. They then have the considerable expense of getting a new lead roof fitted.”
This was the case in the exclusive Wentworth area, when DPM Leadwork was called recently to an impressive residential property which had been fitted with a new lead roof by another company and by midnight on the same day part of it had been stolen again…
Mr McGrath said: “We came in and laid a large 15-tonne roof on the property and have now protected it with SelectaDNA Grease so the thieves will not want to come near it again. The owners were extremely happy to have that added security in place.”
For further information and images contact: Angela Singleton, Press Officer for Selectamark.
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