POLICE in Rathfriland and Dromore are reminding home owners to take steps to prevent the theft of copper and other metals from their homes, particularly new builds and empty properties.
Sergeant Paul Ferguson, Rathfriland and Dromore Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “We are aware of burglaries where copper fittings have been stripped out of vacant houses, partially completed houses and even finished homes. As well as the value of the lost fittings, these thefts frequently lead to serious water damage to the rest of the property.
“Our advice is to secure your home as fully as possible. Home owners should ensure that all windows and doors are locked when the premises are empty and ask neighbours to keep an eye on your property if you know you are going to be away for a while.
“Landlords should check vacant properties regularly and where possible turn off the water supply and remove the tank until the property becomes occupied. Make regular checks of your rental property and ask a neighbour or someone living close by to check the doors and windows every so often.
“Construction companies should take the proper precautions and have new build sites well monitored.”
Crime Prevention Officer, Michelle Wilson added: “We would also urge residents to mark their boilers and other metals in such a way that, in the unfortunate event it is stolen and later recovered, we will be able to match it up to its rightful owner.
“There are many different products available to protect your property.
“Anti-climb paint can be used on your lead flashing. Also known as anti-vandal, anti burglar or anti-intruder paint this thick glutinous substance appears similar to smooth gloss paint however it does not dry. By applying this paint to lead flashing you are preventing would-be thieves from gaining a foothold on your property, making it practically impossible for them to steal. The paint also makes the lead less attractive to scrap metal dealers, reducing the incentive for intruders.
“It’s also extremely difficult to remove from clothing, acting as a further deterrent. The general recommendation is that anti-climb paint be applied two metres above normal access height and is clearly signposted.
“SelectaDNA Grease is another material which can be used to protect your property. This substance has been specially designed to protect outdoor materials such as lead roofing and copper piping, which are particularly vulnerable to theft.
“If a thief handles marked goods, SelectaDNA Grease instantly transfers onto his or her hands and clothing. The police can then scan suspects with UV detection equipment to locate traces of the substance.
“The grey grease is almost impossible to remove and the unique DNA code irrefutably links the perpetrator to the crime scene.
“100g of the Grease will mark approximately 25 linear metres using the 3cm wide paintbrush supplied in the kits. The coverage is based on normal operating temperatures of 18-22c. It is not recommended that the product is applied to frozen surfaces or during very cold temperatures.
“Datatag is an electronic security identification system for boilers and heating systems which enables stolen items to be readily detected, right across the UK.
“Datatag is designed to covertly and overtly mark your boiler for life. Once thieves see the Datatag warning decals on your property they usually go looking for an easier target.”
If you notice anything untoward in your neighbourhood, or see unknown vehicles outside premises or on neighbouring land in rural areas, note down any important details such as a description or vehicle registration and contact police immediately on 999. Police will follow up on your call and there is every possibility your prompt information could prevent a crime.
If you would like further crime prevention advice or information contact your local crime prevention officer on 0845 600 8000.