Since that time, Trace-in-Metal has been applied on numerous buildings across the country, from Cumbria in the west to north Lincolnshire in the east. From Ripley Castle in rural North Yorkshire to the urban streets of Hemel Hempstead, where it continues to protect the lead on the roof of the Registry Office.
Trace-in-Metal is at work in areas that have previously seen many crimes of metal theft, where communities have been left devastated by the wider impact of metal theft. Where Trace-in-Metal is in use, it is bucking the trend against metal theft, and apart from one minor incident in March 2015, all the Trace-in-Metal installations are intact.
This is very pleasing, and the comprehensive methods that we use in being able to infuse metal with thousands of coded microdots that stay with the metal throughout the life span of the metal, set us apart. This is reinforced by the fact that these coded microdots withstand the temperatures used in reprocessing the metal, especially lead, and can still be read and traced back to source, is a step change in providing traceability of the metal.
As a product, Trace-in-Metal was subjected to independent laboratory testing as part of the process to become Secure by Design accredited, an accolade that was reached in November 2016. Trace-in-Metal, including the ability to withstand complete melt-down has been independently tested and has achieved Secure by Design Standard.
The situation for metal recyclers is very much a double-edged sword. Compliance with the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 does not guarantee that they will not be caught in possession of stolen metal. Indeed there are strong feelings within the industry itself that a whole tranche of recyclers are being allowed to drive coach and horses through the legislation.
This is exposing legitimate dealers higher up the ‘food chain’ as they need to buy their ‘stock in trade’ from lower down the food chain and allows for profit driven risks being taken by unscrupulous dealers, knowing that once they pass the metal on, the chances of getting caught diminish greatly.
And this is the root driver behind metal theft. Not the thieves, but those unscrupulous dealers willing to take the risk in buying stolen metal for profit.
Trace-in-Metal changes this, because it carries the risk throughout the existing ‘food chain’ and combined with the e.alert system, which sends SMS and emails to dealers should any Trace-in-Metal marked metal be stolen, actually provides legitimate recyclers with an extremely useful verification tool. Trace-in-Metal is ‘Red Diesel’ for scrap dealers and law enforcers.
The message to the scrap metal industry is simple, “Don’t buy Trace-in-Metal marked metal, you won’t be able to sell it.”
These are not unsubstantiated claims, the necessity to provide resilience throughout an assets life span and to energise scrap dealers is fundamental to Trace-in-Metal and follows closely the empirical research into metal theft that has been published in a number of papers, notably Concentrations of railway metal theft and the locations of scrap-metal dealers. ASHBY & BOWERS: 2015, and Understanding and Preventing Lead Theft from Churches: A Script Analysis. PRICE, SIDEBOTTOM AND TILLEY, 2014. P Palgrave MacMillan L.Grove et al – Heritage Crime.
The future is bright for Trace-in-Metal and for those early adopters that are benefitting from the comprehensive protection that they have invested in. The installations remain intact. The infusions into the lead substrates will never corrode or fade away, they will always be there.
The ability to trace the metal to source will also always be there. There is now a greater reliance on prevention as the primary means of reducing crime, and the need identified by the Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor, Professor Sir Mark Walport to use forensic science innovatively in support of reducing crime, and for private industry to look to new ways to protect communities by innovating. Trace-in-Metal does all this, and more.
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