The first full business meeting of Exeter’s Allotments Forum – which I chair – was held on Thursday 16 July 2015 and on one of the items on the agenda was a presentation from PCSO Elen Holah on SmartWater kits as a means of security for allotments.
Ellen’s beat covers Heavitree and Polsloe – an area that takes in several allotments (Hamlin Lane, Polsloe Bridge, Polsloe Road, Prince Charles Road and Whipton Lane allotments).
Concerned by a number of break-ins on many of these sites, she decided to find out what she could do to deter thieves and discovered the SmartWater security kit.
SmartWater is a traceable liquid forensic marking system whose presence is detected using ultra-violet light, – just a few drops leaves a long-lasting and unique identifier on any marked items of property.
PCSO Holah has obtained funding from various bodies , including £2526 from the Exeter Board:
In addition, Ellen has contacted local councillors in Whipton Barton who have contributed £300 from their ECC community grant allocation. She has also secured additional funding from the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 [POCA] which which provides for the confiscation or civil recovery of the proceeds from crime and puts these monies to good use.
This funding is enough to purchase over 300 SmartWater kits will enable Ellen to run a pilot scheme across the 5 allotment sites within Heavitree and Polsloe. The scheme will enable allotment holders on the Hamlin Lane, Polsloe Bridge, Polsloe Road, Prince Charles Road and Whipton Lane sites to obtain a FREE SmartWater kit.
The scheme was launched at the Whipton Lane site at an event attended by the Deputy Lord Mayor, Cllr Lesley Robson
I’ve just returned from that launch, where around 100 allotment holders claimed their free bottle of SmartWater.
The hope is that the pilot will be successful, allowing PCSO Holah to find more funding from POCA and elsewhere to roll this out to the remaining allotment sites across the city.
Contact: PCSO Ellen Holah:
Exeter police launch Operation Slug [The Exeter Daily, 23 July 2015]
Operation Slug: Exeter police tackle allotment thieves [E&E, 23 July 2015]