Churches to use liquid spray to stop copper crime
Churches in Sweden hard-hit by copper theft are turning to the UK for help. As news agency TT writes, a central DNA register in England can trace any copper if it turns up at a scrap metal dealers. Sweden's Transport Administration, which has been badly affected by copper cable theft from railway lines, is already using the system, called "SmartWater".
SmartWater, marketed by SmartWater Technology Ltd, consists of a liquid containing a unique DNA code to each batch which can be read under ultraviolet light. The idea is that the liquid can be sprayed on items such as copper, and can later be identified using a DNA database.
The Church of Sweden's own insurance company, Church Insurance, says that it has now been given the system to use on valuable items at churches, cemetaries and chapels in this country.
"We have distributed a dozen kits to churches. Firstly, I think to Hällby which has lost entire roofs," says Patrik Olsson, President of Church Insurance.
TT writes that only recently, a chapel outside Eskilstuna was robbed of 190 square meters of copper. In Gävle, thieves sawed off three large copper statues from tombstones and, though "there is hardly anything left to steal," St. Ansgar church and chapel in Borås is completely empty of copper.
SmartWater has already been tested by the Swedish Transport Administration on rail routes in southern and western Sweden. Last spring so much copper cable was stolen from the track between Alvesta and Nässjö in Småland that 70 trains had to be cancelled.