Leeds North West MP meets SmartWater® to help tackle stone theft


Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland recently met with SmartWater to learn how the company is tackling stone theft.

Recent years have seen a rise in Yorkshire stone being stolen from churches, cemeteries, schools and farms across the region. Crime figures show that stone theft in West Yorkshire is increasing by 18% year on year.   

This prompted Greg to, last year, table a parliamentary motion calling on ministers to urgently set up a national taskforce, similar to the one set up by the coalition government to tackle scrap metal theft, as well as pass necessary legislation toughening penalties to deter stone theft. Greg has also called for a national awareness-raising campaign for households and businesses to check where their stone is from.

SmartWater is working with Crime Prevention officers and local councils across the Yorkshire region, including Leeds City Council, to reduce the numbers of attacks.

The company has created a forensic traceable liquid, almost invisible to the naked eye, which enables police to identify them if recovered stone is suspected of having been stolen. In Leeds, public stone is being sprayed with SmartWater which carries an unique identifiable forensic code. This helps the police in positively linking criminals to any thefts which have taken place. The forensic traceable liquid will be able to confirm not only that the flags belong to the council, but also where in the city they were taken from.


Commenting, Greg Mulholland said: 

“I was very pleased to meet with Andy and learn about SmartWater Technology’s work to help fight stone theft. We have sadly seen a spate of stone theft offences across Leeds, especially in Headingley in my constituency. This damages homes, businesses, and schools and also strips back a lot of Yorkshire’s heritage.

“SmartWater’s traceable liquid is a very innovative product, and I was interested to learn about how it is helping police and councils to identify stone that has been stolen. This is a matter upsetting many local residents and I will continue to urge ministers to take much-needed action.”

Phil Cleary CEO  from SmartWater added: 

‘All thieves, whether they’re stealing stone or jewellery, avoid property that’s traceable, as it makes them accountable both to the police and Courts. SmartWater has a unique track record of helping the police secure convictions of serious criminals and we’re very grateful for Greg’s tireless efforts in highlighting the growing problem of stone theft’.

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