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

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

These microdots feature a unique reference number, so police can
identify the owner of any recovered stolen property and prosecute the thieves

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.

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.’