Columnist: Tim Drew, November 22

Legislation aimed at countering metal theft is coming into effect shortly.

An amendment to the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964, whereby accepting payment in cash for scrap metal and failure to provide a record of each transaction will constitute an offence punishable by a fine of up to £5,000, becomes law on December 3. 
This follows the launch this spring of Operation Tornado, the objective of which is to restrict the sale and movement of stolen metal. Anyone selling scrap metal will be required to provide proof of identity, including their address and photograph. Metal dealers will have to keep records for 12 months and police can inspect them at any time. Operation Tornado and the use of SmartWater have significantly increased the likelihood of convictions for metal theft. 
SmartWater is a forensic property marker that can be used on valuable and/or easily removed items. 
No two SmartWater solutions have the same forensic code, meaning the provenance of marked items can be traced, provided the solution applied has been registered with SmartWater. SmartWater can conclusively prove the ownership of an item and maintains a 100 per cent conviction rate when used as evidence in court, having been responsible for or more than 1,000 criminal convictions. The solution is invisible to the naked eye, but glows brightly under UV light, making it easily identifiable by the police. Paint a fraction of vulnerable/at risk areas of metal with SmartWater, register the kit to your building and clearly display the signage supplied with the kit to deter potential thieves. 
The SmartWater logo is well known among criminals and the signage alone is a major deterrent. As ever, contact the police or Crimestoppers if you see anything suspicious; community intelligence will continue to play an essential part in driving down a crime which has caused untold misery and been estimated to cost the economy £1billion per year.