Thursday, February 08, 2007

Wiltshire yards asked to look out for stolen Cotswold stone roof tile

Melksham, Wiltshire UK - Following a recent increase in the theft of antique stone roof tiles and traditional stoneware, Wiltshire Police are asking for assistance from the public, and also offering advice on how to improve the security of such items. Tiles have been stolen from the roofs of remote farms and outbuildings, and heavy stone troughs and staddle stones, once a common sight in villages across rural Wiltshire, have also been taken.

There are a number of methods that can be used to property mark stoneware, to improve their security and to increase the chances of successful recovery in the event of a theft: External masonry paint can be applied to the surface of the stone
It is possible to create a free online portfolio of your valuables, which includes storing images, vital statistics, and product details of the stoneware. Police forces can then use the online facility as a method to recover stolen property. For further information visit the 'My Things' website. A further method, which has been used extensively in the Cotswolds and North Wiltshire, is 'SmartWater'. It is a “Secure by Design” approved product and therefore approved by the Association of Chief Police Officers. The solution can be used to mark roof tiles, flagstones, staddle stones and traditional stone troughs with the invisible, DNA-like, ‘forensic fingerprint’.
This fingerprint is unique to a single address, the details of which are kept on a secure database that can be accessed by police in the event of recovered stolen property being identified as marked with 'smartwater'. An annual licence can be gained through 'SmartWater', who supply the solution, applicator and warning stickers. For further information visit the 'SmartWater' website.

Mark Abbott, Neighbourhood Watch and Crime Reduction Officer, said, "I have used this property marking system to protect stone roof tiles. I simply dabbed SmartWater into the difficult to reach areas of the stone tiles. SmartWater only require a tiny speck to identify the property if it has been stolen. The owners details will be stored on a secure database to ensure positive identification. I also recommend the FREE online portfolio, on which you can store images, vital stats, and product details of your valuable stoneware. It is a useful tool for police forces across the country, who can then use the online facility to help to trace the owners of any recovered stolen property."

Wiltshire Police believe the majority of stone items stolen from the area remain locally, possibly to be used again in building projects. Consequently, builders and reclamation yards are being asked to thoroughly check the source of any stone items they may buy, or that are in their possession. The public are asked to contact Wiltshire police if they see anyone acting suspiciously, and to provide details of the vehicle and any possible descriptions of the individuals, on 0845 408 7000, or alternatively Crimestoppers, where information can be left anonymously, on 0800 555111.

Wiltshire Police Press Release

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