Maintenance equipment used to tend the parks and green spaces of Saddleworth and Lees, Oldham, Greater Manchester, has been marked with a new forensic trace product to prevent and deter theft.
Replacement strimmers, ride-on mowers and hedge cutters belonging to Environmental Services based at Churchill Playing Fields in Wellington Road have been marked with SelectaDNA Trace by a team of officers from Saddleworth and Lees District Partnership. The marking session follows an incident where more than £21,000 worth of equipment was stolen from the centre.
Local youngsters aged 13-19 regularly use the council-run youth centre, together with the adjacent Churchill Playing Fields, for which the maintenance equipment is needed. The fields are the largest recreational area in Saddleworth and Lees, covering approximately 7.8 hectares of land. They are used for a wide range of sporting activities and community events.
SelectaDNA Trace is ideal for outdoor metal marking projects. The solution, which comes in an easy-to-use aerosol contains two identifiers: Trace nanoparticles which authenticates the mark as a genuine SelectaDNA product, and metal microdots which identifies who the registered owner is. The code on the metal microdots is linked to a secure database which is accessible to Police at all times via a secure online login.
The main benefit of Trace over standard forensic property marking products is that it allows Police to identify stolen property on the spot, which means they are no longer reliant on lengthy analysis times. This has subsequently led to arrests and convictions, with thieves admitting their crime because the on the spot evidence is so strong.
Michael Fleming, Community Safety Officer, Saddleworth and Lees District Team, said: “After expensive equipment was stolen from Churchill Playing Fields, we decided to use SelectaDNA Trace to deter further incidents of theft. Replacement equipment has now been marked so that it is traceable back to the centre, which plays an important role in the local community. We are doing all we can to prevent the centre being targeted again and are using deterrent warning signage to alert potential thieves that this new security system is in place.”
Councillor Jean Stretton, Cabinet Member for Cooperatives and Neighbourhoods, said: “Oldham Council is supportive of the use of SelectaDNA to mark this valuable equipment and we are confident that this is a high-tech way to fight crime.”