Trace-in-Metal Ltd have answered the call from North Yorkshire Police to come up with a lasting solution to the pernicious crime of Sheep Theft.

Encouraged by the success achieved in preventing the theft of lead from Church Roofs, Trace-in-Metal was asked to think outside the box to come up with a workable method of protecting livestock, with the north east region being second only to Northern Ireland in the livestock theft league table.

The Trace-in-Metal team got to work and got their thinking caps on as well as their wellies, and with the help of local farmers and a flock of Swaledale, Cheviot and Texels, came up with a workable method of forensically marking sheep.

The result is TecTracer, which works by marking livestock with thousands of forensic coded microdots that become entangled in fleeces and coats and will trace the animal back to their home farm, should they be stolen. The forensic codes are virtually impossible to remove, yet are easy to recover and read by the police.

The forensic codes are held in a secure database, which will proactively broadcast any theft of livestock to others, such as auction marts, abattoirs and the police. Signage warns off thieves and the system creates a very strong deterrent against theft, which keeps the animals safe.


The marking of livestock in this way is being introduced under Operation Bo Peep! Membership of Operation Bo Peep! allows signage and merchandise to be used in support of the forensic codes that are applied to animals.

Membership of the scheme allows TecTRACER to operate the database and covers the costs involved in maintaining the proactive e.alert system, providing initial perimeter signage and police and stakeholder engagement once the scheme is joined.

Once again, Trace-in-Metal have shown their mettle (sorry!) by coming up with innovation that is aimed at protecting valuable assets that are at risk from theft. Through Operation Bo Peep! they continue to help rural communities look after their livelihoods. 

Pictured: L to R Sgt. Stuart Grainger, NYP Rural Task Force, Farmer Jonathan Murray, Sheep Farmer, North Yorkshire Moors, Trace-in-Metal MD John Minary, getting his hands dirty marking a ewe, PCSO Simon Clapcott, NYP Rural Task Force. 

Link to Tectracer.

TecTracer and Operation Bo Peep! are both trademarks