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Devon Police celebrate 90 per cent drop in allotment thefts

A police project aimed at reducing thefts from Exeter allotments has produced dramatic results.

Codenamed Operation Slug, Devon and Cornwall Police are so pleased with the results that they are now hoping to expand the project.

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The scheme has seen a 90 per cent reduction in burglaries from allotment sheds and outbuildings following the introduction of SmartWater, an invisible forensically coded property marking solution.

Launched across 26 allotment sites in Exeter, a total of 1300 allotment holders are now using SmartWater to protect their expensive garden tools in order to deter thieves from stealing them.

Anything marked with SmartWater can be traced back to its owner. It can also help the police to link suspects to crime scenes.

Police Community Support Officer, Ellen Holah said it has been a great success, saying: "The take-up has been amazing and allotment holders are thrilled to take part. I had to apply for more funding to cater for everyone and supply more kits, UV torches and signage.

"We are aiming to launch another allotment project in Mid Devon, (Cullompton and Uffculme), and from January we will be helping University students by using SmartWater to mark up their laptops and gadgets."