Thames Valley Police (TVP) is appealing for victims to get in touch, after a large haul of stolen power tools, including a number marked with SmartWater®, were recovered in February this year.
The recovery came as a result of Operation Appleton, where six men were also arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods and have now been released under investigation.
More than 2,000 power tools were recovered under the Op, including power drills, routers and impact drivers.
Detectives working on the investigation into the theft now have now put together a complete list of the tools and serial numbers from those recovered and they now hope, through the use of public appeal, social media and robust traceability provided by SmartWater, to return the bulk of this important equipment back to it’s original owners.
The Metropolitan Police Service MetTrace Central Team were contacted to assist with their extensive knowledge around SmartWater in an attempt to identify and return the tools to their rightful owners. On Tuesday 10th July 2018 the team travelled to Bletchley Police Station in TVP and all 2,000 power tools were scanned using UV torches. Upon conclusion of this, a number of tools were found to be marked with traces of SmartWater and TVP will now be looking to progress forensic analysis with SmartWater scientists in order to ascertain ownership.
This operation, again, highlights the importance of marking property using forensic property marking schemes such as SmartWater, increasing the chances of victims getting their property back.
SmartWater currently offer a range of forensic security products for the protection of tools and equipment, which you can purchase by visiting here.
Of those victims located so far, many are from the Thames Valley area, however individuals from 16 other police force areas including Kent, Avon & Somerset and Norfolk have also been identified, highlighting the scale of this issue.
Operation Appleton lead, Detective Sergeant Shay Harper, said: “I am pleased to be in a position to reunite these tools with their rightful owners. My team and I have worked hard over the past few months to identify owners of these tools in a number of ways including checks of national databases and crime reports from across the country. However, with a number of tools carrying unique but unregistered marks on them, I believe there are a number of people out there who would recall these marks, enabling us to reunite them.”
“I urge anyone who owns tools whether they’re kept in a van, garage or shed, to mark them and make a note of the serial numbers. This could be just by taking a photo of them but preferably by registering them on a national database, as this helps us prove ownership when we make seizures of stolen items.”