31 August 2001

Marked to beat the thieves

By Andy Moore

OWNERS of expensive and valuable income-earning machinery and equipment now have the option of a security system which could play a big part in the battle against theft.

Developed by Thiefbeaters, the marking and registration system uses a combination of a code, tags and microdots to provide comprehensive proof of property ownership.

The essence behind the system is a unique alpha-numeric code which is stamped, engraved or etched in more than 25 hidden locations on a vehicle or piece of equipment.

Thiefbeaters says the system can be fitted to any size of vehicle or machine, ranging from ATVs, tractors to combines, together with expensive workshop equipment such as welders.

A nationwide computer database run by Thiefbeaters stores the code and its location on the property, together with date of installation.

The database also stores the name and address of the owner, vehicle or equipment description such as make, model, registration number and up to six digital photographs.

Once all property details are stored, the owner receives a laminated registration document which shows the code and its location, property description, keepers name/address and two digital photographs.

For security, the registration document only contains 20% of the recorded information, with the rest stored on the Thiefbeaters database.

To let the thief know the vehicle or equipment has the system, the property is decorated with five prominently displayed stickers.

"The primary objective behind the registration system is theft deterrence," says Thiefbeaters Andy James, who is based near Towcester, Northants.

"Stolen property armed with the registration system will be almost impossible to sell on and worthless to a buyer."

In the event of a theft, the owner phones the police and Thiefbeaters, and a stolen report form is issued which gives full information of the property and owner details.

When and if property is recovered, police perform a scanning operation and "Thiefbeaten" equipment can be identified in less than 10 minutes, says Mr James.

"The most effective system is a combination of code, tags and microdots which makes property very easy to identify," he adds. "An average specification system costs £145 which includes installation and database registration. &#42