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SmartWater forensic marking to help turn the tide on catalytic converter theft

The precious metals in a typical catalytic converter, along with ease of access underneath a car, van or truck, has made them a popular target for thieves. Despite being worth only £100-£200 in resale value, replacement costs run into the thousands, in addition to the disruption caused.

In response UK firm SmartWater Technology Ltd has developed a new High Temperature Marker that it said to provide durable, long-term forensic traceability to catalytic converters and other vehicle exhaust components.

The technology has previously been used in a variety of scenarios by organisations including BT Openreach, Network Rail, National Grid and G4S but it’s the first time the forensic marking technology has been openly available to the commercial vehicle sector.

Each marking kit contains a unique code that is registered to an individual vehicle. Not only does this provide traceability but the company adds that independent academic research has shown that it provides a powerful deterrent.

Unlike some other products that need regular re-application, the solution is guaranteed to last a minimum of five years or 100,000 miles if applied according to the simple instructions and comes with no recurring fees beyond the one-off kit price.

SmartWater’s chief executive, Phil Cleary, said: ‘The identification of catalytic converters has historically represented a problem for the police, as without traceability it is very difficult for them to prosecute a suspected thief. SmartWater’s High Temperature Marker provides durable, long term traceability that will assist in prosecutions thereby creating a powerful criminal deterrent.

‘We have used expertise gained in adapting SmartWater for a range of industrial environments and arrived at this point, where we can say that the SmartWater High Temperature Marker could put the brakes on runaway cat theft figures!’

The solution is to be officially unveiled at the Commercial Vehicle Show, being held at Birmingham's NEC from 9-11 April.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.