02/Sep/2014 - Last News Update: 00:01

DNA dye Smartwater sends Torfaen metal thief to jail

Category: Wales

Published: 11th Nov 2011 08:28:28

A council which has sprayed a chemical dye on its property and buildings has welcomed a jail term for a man caught trying to sell metal he stole.

The 24-year-old was jailed for 22 weeks after admitting stealing lead from Pontypool market and the Jubilee Centre in Torfaen.

It is the first successful prosecution since Torfaen began using SmartWater for fly tippers and thefts.

The council said 49 metal thefts since April had cost it £136,000.

Each container of SmartWater liquid has a unique chemical signature, ensuring property can be traced

The council was the first in Wales to use the dye against fly tippers, with it sprayed on waste materials carried by lorry.

But the recent court case in Newport stemmed from the rising number of metal thefts that have cost Torfaen £290,000 in the past three years.

Magistrates heard the cost of the lead stolen from the indoor market's roof amounted to more than £1,400 but replacing it and repairs pushed the bill to £6,000.

Footprint impressions

The court heard police officers found the man and his 18-year-old accomplice by the weighing scales at the Pontypool scrap dealer site.

Police had arrived with a SmartWater representative on a routine visit to scan metal with a UV light for traces of the liquid that is invisible to the naked eye.

Metal thieves cost Torfaen thousands of pounds every year and we are dealing with it very seriously”

Magistrates heard the pair initially denied the thefts.

But footprint impressions taken from the market were linked to the man and SmartWater analysis confirmed the metal had been taken from the roof of the market.

The man was also given a 10-week sentence for stealing lead and his co-defendant, who pleaded guilty, was given a 12-month community order.

Torfaen council said it had seen a "significant" rise in metal thefts since last year, when 35 thefts cost it £107,000, but the court case showed the £58,500 three-year SmartWater initiative was starting to pay off.

In addition to external metal on buildings, the dye is also sprayed on vehicles and equipment, as well as computers and laptops.

Torfaen executive member John Cunningham said he hoped the sentence sent out a strong message.

"Metal thieves cost Torfaen thousands of pounds every year and we are dealing with it very seriously.

"Any potential metal thief should know that all our property is marked with SmartWater and this includes our buildings, our computers, our equipment, machinery and tools."

BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2011. DNA dye Smartwater sends Torfaen metal thief to jail [Online] (Updated 11th Nov 2011)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/201387/DNA-dye-Smartwater-sends-Torfaen-metal-thief-to-jail [Accessed 2nd Sep 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • West Ham sign French midfielder Morgan Amalfitano

    West Ham have signed French midfielder Morgan Amalfitano from Marseille on a one-year deal.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • Game of Thrones swordsman joins Star Wars film

    Actor Miltos Yerolemou, best known for his role in the first series of fantasy drama Game of Thrones, has joined the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII.
  • British Ebola patient 'pretty well'

    The parents of the first British person to contract Ebola during the outbreak in West Africa say he is recovering well.
  • China accuses MPs of Hong Kong 'interference'

    The Chinese authorities have accused British MPs of interfering in Hong Kong's affairs, Newsnight has learned.
  • Teenager rescued from River Thames after YouTube dare

    A teenager was rescued from the Thames near Westminster after jumping into the river for a prank.