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Bayston Hill latest area to become a 'We Don't Buy Crime' village

The Shrewsbury village of Bayston Hill is the latest area to invest in Smartwater forensic technology and become a We Don't Buy Crime village.

The investment by Bayston Hill Parish Council was made after local residents raised concerns about burglaries in the village.

First launched in 2015 by West Mercia Police, We Don't Buy Crime towns and villages see households protected by Smartwater forensic technology, with signs displayed throughout the area warning thieves that crime prevention measures have been taken.

The successful scheme is supported by West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion who is offering to fund 25% of the rollout costs to Councillors interested in helping to protect their wards.

Since 2015, more than 50 towns and villages across Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin have invested in the initiative with the most recent figures showing an 8% decrease in burglaries across the area West Mercia Police covers however, this figure is expected to be as much as 50% in We Don't Buy Crime areas.

Cllr Keith Keel, Chairman of Bayston Hill Parish Council said: "Bayston Hill prides itself on being a low crime area but a spate of burglaries caused concern amongst residents so the Parish Council decided to take action to deter any further issues.

"At a very well attended meeting of the Council in January we received a presentation from West Mercia Police and Smartwater forensic technology about We Don't Buy Crime and were keen to get involved and ensure we could provide kits to local residents.

"The PCC grant scheme requires that Smartwater kits are used in at least 70% of the homes in an area. This level of saturation is found to be most successful in deterring crimes such as burglary. The remaining cost (£10,480.42) is borne by the Parish Council and we really hope that the roll out of this scheme will help to reassure residents following an unusual spike of burglaries in the village".

We Don't Buy Crime is the West Mercia Police's response to tackling acquisitive crime which includes crimes such as burglaries and theft. It is led by Chief Superintendent Tom Harding.

He said: "We are really pleased that Bayston Hill Parish Council has become the latest parish council to invest in We Don't Buy Crime and help us tackle acquisitive crime. Crime prevention plays a huge part in our work under We Don't Buy Crime and any steps people can take to help make their own home less desirable to a potential burglar makes a huge difference and we know We Don't Buy Crime has had a significant impact on reducing crime".

Smartwater kits are manufactured by a Telford company with each kit containing a unique combination of rare earth metals that can be analysed and identified to trace the legal owner of the marked equipment. This enables the police to identify the true owner of items that they believe to be stolen and to use this information to prosecute thieves.

Throughout March there will be a number of events where the kits will be distributed to residents of the parish free of charge. The scheme roll out will be supported by volunteers from the Parish Council and Neighbourhood Watch Group and representatives from the Parish Council, the West Mercia Police and Smartwater Ltd will be available to explain how the product is used.

The events planned in March are as follows:

Monday 11 March 2019 Bayston Hill Memorial Hall 2 - 4pm and 6 - 8pm

Tuesday 12 March 2019 Coffee in the Living Room - Christchurch 10am - 12pm

Saturday16 March 2019 Bayston Hill Library 10am - 12:30pm

Friday 22 March 2019 The Methodist Centre 9 - 12pm and 3 - 7pm

Kits will be issued on a first come first serve basis but if there are any leftover they will be available from the Parish Office or at the end of the Annual Parish Meeting on 20 May 2019 in the Memorial Hall.

Published 11/03/19