Boat thieves will be coming under the UV spotlight...

All boat owners who pay harbour

dues on the River Hamble are set to be issued with a SmartWater forensic marking system.

This is the first time an entire harbour has embarked on a crime

prevention scheme such as this. Around 4,000 boats will be given SmartWater

systems from the Easter weekend onwards when people start returning to their

vessels.

Councillor Keith Evans, chairman of Hampshire County Council’s River Hamble

Harbour Board, said: ‘We have been working closely with the police, including

their marine unit, and of course with SmartWater.

‘The River Hamble is not a

crime hot spot and we want to keep it that way by providing a major deterrent

to potential theft and crime on the  River.

‘This tool is a way to ensure

property is protected and we urge all owners to act positively and responsibly

to maximise that deterrent.’

SmartWater is a forensic liquid that can be painted on to almost any

item of value, providing traceable back to its owner.

The robust liquid is

almost impossible to remove and contains thousands of uniquely numbered

microdots.

These microdots feature a unique reference number, so police can

identify the owner of any recovered stolen property and prosecute the thieves

responsible.

SmartWater can be applied to anything from personal belongings to

outboard motors, radar equipment, chart plotters and radios.

Each system also

comes with stickers to put in the windows of vessels to warn would-be-thieves

that the valuables on board are protected.

Once boat owners have their SmartWater system and have painted the

liquid on their belongings, they need to register it with the company, either

online or by post. Registration details will be supplied with the systems.

David Evans, Harbour Master for the River Hamble, said: ‘The forensic

marking scheme project is designed to make it clear to potential thieves that

the River Hamble is not a place they will want to target.

‘We already work very

closely with the police and this is an extra step to help prevent crime and act

as a deterrent to thieves. It is also a scheme that is of benefit to everyone

who uses the river.’

Sergeant Tony Birr, of the Hampshire Constabulary Marine Unit, said: ‘The Hampshire Police Marine Unit and local beat officers continue to

work closely with the Hamble Harbour Master and his team in

developing ways to prevent and detect crime along the River Hamble.

‘Their

consistent commitment to proactively deter criminals typifies the spirit

of Project Kraken and, by working together, this initiative demonstrates what

can be achieved when agencies take a joint approach in reducing the opportunity

for crime to occur.’

Phil Cleary, chief executive of SmartWater Technology Ltd, added: ‘SmartWater works as an effective deterrent because it makes thieves

accountable for their crimes, which is why they will avoid it at all costs.

‘This project is a co-ordinated crime prevention strategy between Hampshire

County Council, Hampshire Police and SmartWater, which we believe will bring

real benefit to boat owners by reducing the threat of theft.’