A burglary victim has been re-united with some of her treasured belongings and several suspects arrested thanks to a property marking scheme offered free to her by Merseyside Police.

The woman suffered two burglaries in the space of a fortnight at her home in Formby and had jewellery, computers, cameras and even a flute stolen.

But after the first one, local police officers offered to mark all her remaining valuables with a special invisible ink which is undetectable to thieves and impossible to remove.

When the woman was burgled a second time, one of the offenders cut themselves when they smashed a ground floor window to get in, leaving police with a way of identifying who the suspects might be.

When officers then arrested several youths on suspicion of both burglaries, they found a number of valuables matching those stolen from the woman in Formby.

Officers shone ultra-violet light on the items, including a large cubic Zircona on a platinum chain and a 24 carat gold necklace and earring set, and found the presence of the forensic marking. Much of the jewellery was of sentimental value as well as expensive, with some having been bought as wedding, engagement and honeymoon gifts.

The items have since been identified by the burglary victim the burglary victim and a total of seven people aged between 14 and 22 have been arrested on suspicion of burglary and handling stolen goods. All seven (including four teenage girls) have been questioned about the two burglaries before being released on police bail pending further enquiries.

Formby neighbourhood inspector, Jim Atherton, said the arrests and recovery of the stolen goods highlighted the benefits of people taking advatange of free property-marking schemes.

He said: “To be burgled once is terrible for anyone, but to be burgled twice is unthinkable and it is extremely rare for anyone in Formby to suffered this kind of crime twice in quick succession. It is possible that offenders returned to the house a second time thinking they could steal more of this lady’s belongings. However, thanks to the property-marking that the police offered free after the first burglary, items that we have managed to recover during the investigation have been identified as hers and will be returned. It will never make up for the distress of her home being burgled but it will be of some comfort to have her things returned to her and it greatly assists in us arresting people for the crime. Property marking is quick and easy to do and does not damage or spoil your valuables. It does however spoil the chances a criminal has of getting away with their crime.”

For more information about how to get your property security-marked in Sefton call Merseyside Police on 0151 777 4149 or email Homewatch co-ordinator margaret.jepson@merseyside.pnn.police.uk

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