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Sussex Police support tool marking initiative

(Left to right): Nick Roach, Selecta DNA Police Liaison; PCSO Jamie Chandler; Louis Bennett, Selecta DNA Business Development Manager; PCSO Suzanne Lydon; Rhys Granville, Williams Trade Supplies Asst Manager; and Clair Frame, Selecta DNA Head of Sales UK

Crime prevention officers from Sussex Police have been working alongside Williams Trade Plumbing Supplies as part of a national tool marking initiative to combat the theft of power tools and other high value items from commercial vehicles.

The event, held in Crawley on Tuesday 6 September, was part of a pilot launched by the National Business Crime Centre, aimed at local tradespeople who work with high value tools as part of their job. Those who attended the event had their tools marked using SelectaDNA kits. The items were registered on the Secure Asset Register (SAR) property database, making them easy to identify and hopefully to return to their rightful owner if they are stolen.

They were also given deterrent stickers to display on their vehicles and crime prevention advice from the local team to help them keep their tools and vehicles secure.

Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne said: “I am delighted to have been able to award funding for 100 kits that will be given out across Sussex as part of this national initiative.

“Tool marking acts as a deterrent to opportunistic thieves and can make it difficult for tools to be sold on. Each kit can mark up to 50 tools providing the best possible chance to recover them after a crime.”

Inspector Steve Turner, of the Crawley and Mid Sussex Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We are keen to raise awareness of the benefits of tool marking, and for tradespeople to adopt marking of their tools in order to help reduce and deter thefts. This partnership approach to crime prevention uses state-of-the-art tool marking and asset registration. It helps us to identify the owner, so stolen tools can be returned along with a prosecution of an offender.” 

Police Sergeant Paul Fagg, from the National Business Crime Centre, added: “We are grateful to Williams Trade Plumbing Supplies for agreeing to host these events and to Sussex Police for sending officers along to carry out the tool markingTool theft from commercial vehicles continues to be a big problem for tradespeople with Direct Line for Business estimating that more than £83 million worth of tools have been stolen across England and Wales in the last three years.

“Many of the people targeted are self-employed and when their tools are stolen they not only lose the items themselves, which can run into thousands of pounds, it can also result in loss of work and loss of earnings. By marking tools and taking simple crime prevention steps, the risk of being a victim can be significantly reduced.”

The forces taking part are Sussex Police, The Metropolitan Police, Hampshire Constabulary, Essex Police, West Midlands Police, Avon and Somerset Constabulary, and Greater Manchester Police, with some funding additional marking kits as part of their event.

The initiative is being used as a pilot to test the principle of marking property and see if it does act as a deterrent and if tools are stolen, whether the fact they are marked and registered enables the property to be returned. The pilot will involve follow-up questionnaires to those whose property was marked on whether they have been a victim of crime and if so, whether their property was recovered.

A second tool marking event will also be held at Williams Plumbing Trade Supplies on Timberlaine Trading estate, Decoy Road, Worthing, on Thursday 22 September between 7.30am and 12 noon.

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