In September 2017 an order for TecTracer from a farmer in Denny, Falkirk was the first received from Scotland.
A year later shipments of the revolutionary TecTracer marking system to Alba have substantially increased with sheep, owned by crofters and large estate owners as far between as Dumfries and Caithness, being marked. Through social media, word of mouth and crime prevention advice from Scottish based organisations, the deterrent created by TecTracer is being expanded and recognised.
Part of the success is due to the strong emphasis placed on collaboration and partnership with Police Scotland and the ease of using TecTracer. The microdots identifying who the sheep belong to, the provision of prima facie evidence to inform police investigations and subsequent prosecutions for theft/handling stolen goods and the alert system that kicks in if TecTracer marked sheep are stolen is what underpins the system.
To help the police, under increased pressure due to funding cutbacks, a witness statement is produced when required. Police Scotland, a key member of SPARC, the Scotland Partnership Against Rural Crime, can be proud to have contributed to a 3.8% drop in rural crime in Scotland when the UK as a whole saw an increase of 13.4% in the cost to the UK economy caused by crime in the countryside. The Specialist Crime Division, Safer Communities, supports local policing and provides access to national specialist investigative and intelligence functions.
Units are nationally co-ordinated and led but acts locally in communities and are responsible for a wide range of prevention and intervention functions. Dundee based PC William Johnstone is a vital member of this unit and has been touring all over Scotland to support farmers and rural communities. His and his colleagues’ commitment and hard work is the story behind the success of SPARC.
The TecTracer microdots, supplied in a keel (or raddle) a paint used for marking sheep, were subjected to a risk assessment by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to evaluate any risk to food safety. The agency concluded that the external application of the microdots did not pose any dietary health risks. You could say ’on the contrary’ - the deterrent to sheep rustling that TecTracer provides could stop theft and illegal slaughtering and thus the sale of meat on the black market from unregulated abattoirs.
The FSA provides a list of what Food Crime involves (https://www.food.gov.uk/safety-hygiene/food-crime) but to this can be added that a certain time between sheep dipping and slaughter must be observed to ensure that harmful chemicals are not contaminating the meat. Stolen sheep comes with no treatment history and, if butchered in an unregulated abattoir, toxins could be present in the meat.
Trace-in-Metal Ltd, the parent company behind the TecTracer system, and a police approved Secure by Design company have been working closely with police forces across the UK, including Police Scotland, who invited the company to the Royal Highland Show in July to launch the TecTracer system.
Police Scotland have since released an informative video which helps to explain their partnership approach to helping rural communities to reduce crime.
Said TecTracer Police Liaison Officer John Barr “We are proud to be partnering with Police Scotland to get the message out that sheep and livestock theft will not be tolerated in Scotland.”
He continued, “Anything we can do to support communities in preventing crime and helping with much needed reassurance, we will do. TecTracer provides users with the latest technology in crime fighting and has been developed to help support end users”