Council stamps its mark on thieves


St.Helens Council has teamed up with crime-prevention company SmartWater® to wash-out thieves, following a number of reports of York stone paving flags being stolen from Sankey Canal.

To prevent further theft, paving along the canal has now been sprayed with forensic traceable liquid, SmartWater, which carries an identifiable forensic code and can assist police in linking criminals to thefts.

The liquid will confirm that the York stone belongs to the council, and also exactly where it was taken from.

The move comes in response to an increase in paving stones, worth hundreds of pounds per square metre, being stolen from the area over a number of years.

St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Green, Smart and Sustainable Borough, Councillor Seve Gomez-Aspron, said: “Sankey Canal is a vital part of the borough’s history and this blatant destruction of our heritage is unacceptable. Drastic action needed to be taken.

“We needed something that would act as a deterrent and combat this type of crime, and that would also assist police in finding and arresting those responsible.

“This method will certainly allow us to do that as we look to continue to restore, preserve and protect this magnificent area - and we will not hesitate to prosecute those found to be guilty of theft."

Steve Lloyd, SmartWater's Police and Client Support Consultant for Merseyside, said: “SmartWater maintains a 100 per cent conviction rate when used as evidence in court and has aided the successful conviction of hundreds of criminals.

“As a result it is considered to be a powerful deterrent, which will directly benefit St Helens Council and make their paving stones identifiable and therefore significantly less attractive to thieves.”


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