Metal thieves beware as Regenda leaves its mark
Published by Lucy Bradwell for The Regenda Group in Housing
Neighbourhood Officer, Beckie Kirkland applies the forensic marker to a boiler
Homes are being forensically marked in a new scheme launched by North West housing provider, The Regenda Group, in a bid to tackle metal theft.
The property marking system, known as SelectaDNA, acts as a deterrent to metal thieves and provides the Police with evidence in the fight against theft.
The security kit includes a special paint which contains a specific DNA code and a series of microdots which are unique to each company. This is painted onto the surface of metal items such as boilers and pipe work and any valuables in the home. Once dried, the liquid is invisible to the naked eye but shows up under UV light. If the items are later stolen and found, the Police can identify the rightful owner by checking the details against their database and link the items directly to a specific crime scene, increasing the chances that the thieves will be convicted.
Chris Dale, Head of Property Services at Regenda explained: “Over the past year, ten of our empty properties in Oldham have been targeted by thieves. It is potentially very dangerous, especially where pipes or cabling are taken if gas, water and electricity supplies are left live. Unfortunately metal theft is becoming an increasingly common problem for landlords and local authorities and we are working closely with Greater Manchester Police to crack down on this problem.
“There isn’t just the risk to our residents to consider – we’ve estimated that it has cost us over £40,000 to replace stolen boilers, rectify water damage from pipes left leaking and to provide secure systems to prevent further thefts. It is also having a detrimental effect on the estate as empty properties now have to be boarded up, damaging the reputation of the neighbourhood.”
The system will be used in Regenda’s properties in Oldham and will be rolled out, street by street, over the next few months. Posters and stickers will be displayed around the estate to raise awareness of the new scheme amongst residents and to deter potential metal thieves from operating in the area.