Boat owners in Hampshire given anti-theft paint

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Thousands of boats are to be marked with an "invisible" liquid in a bid to cut marine crime in Hampshire.

For the first time all owners who pay harbour fees on the River Hamble are being issued with forensic property marking system SmartWater.

About 4,000 boat owners are to be given the liquid - which is invisible to the naked eye - to paint their property.

Each system contains a unique code to help police reunite owners with their property if it is stolen.

'Deterrent to thieves'

SmartWater shows up under ultraviolet light and cannot be washed off.

It can be applied to anything from personal belongings to outboard motors, radar equipment, chart plotters and radios.

Each system also comes with stickers to put in the windows of vessels to warn would-be-thieves that valuables on board are protected.

The county council, Hampshire Constabulary's Marine Unit and SmartWater have joined forces for the project.

Councillor Keith Evans, chairman of Hampshire County Council's River Hamble Harbour Board, said he hopes the move will deter thieves.

David Evans, River Hamble harbour master, said: "The forensic marking scheme project is designed to make it clear to potential thieves that the River Hamble is not a place they will want to target.

"We already work very closely with the police and this is an extra step to help prevent crime and act as a deterrent to thieves."

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