Plan to stop memorial metal thieves
Published 01/11/2011 | 09:01
A scheme to protect Britain's war memorials from the growing number of thieves who are raiding them for scrap metal has been launched by a conservation group.
The War Memorials Trust estimates that at least one of the nation's wartime monuments is being targeted every week due to the rising costs of scrap bronze and copper.
It is planning to forensically mark the metal plaques of all UK memorials with SmartWater - an invisible solution which can only be seen under UV light.
The trust is calling on volunteers to help identify, record and protect as many monuments as possible to commemorate the upcoming centenary of the First World War in 2014.
The makers of SmartWater, which is used by a number of police forces to trace stolen items, are creating a national database of the UK's memorials and donating bottles of its solution as part of the In Memoriam 2014 scheme.
Sir Keith Povey, chairman of the SmartWater Foundation, said: "I hope that the community will embrace the project by taking an interest in locating and preserving these symbols of our commemoration."
Metal theft is currently estimated to be costing the UK economy in excess of £700million a year with a growing number of local authorities spending money repairing historic buildings, schools, churches and cemeteries targeted by criminals.
Thieves recently desecrated Carshalton War Memorial, ripping down 14 individual brass plaques commemorating Sutton's war dead.
Anyone wishing to register a war memorial can visit www.inmemoriam2014.org for more information.