Published: March 25, 2009
Exclusive: Church turns to high-tech security system to protect lead roof

A church near Burnham-On-Sea has become one of the first in the south west to invest in a high-tech forensic security system to prevent the theft of lead and copper from its roof.

Warning signs have been installed outside St Mary's Church in Berrow to alert would-be thieves that SmartWater is in use. was first to report last summer how thieves had stolen large strips of lead worth thousands of pounds from the roofs of Berrow Church and St Andrew's Church in Burnham.

Angered by the attacks, Berrow Church decided to install SmartWater, an invisible, colourless liquid that shows up under UV light.

Thieves risk being sprayed with the liquid, which contains a unique DNA-style forensic code that proves an individual was at the scene of a crime.

Once dry, SmartWater is virtually impossible to remove from objects or clothing and it remains on the skin for up to eight weeks. It was also introduced at several supermarkets in Burnham and Highbridge last year.

Reverend Sally Lacy from Berrow Church told this week: "Introducing SmartWater has involved a significant investment on our part, but it will hopefully act as a strong deterrent to would-be thieves."

"It also satisfies insurance companies that we are doing everything possible to protect our property."

Avon and Somerset Police's crime prevention officer, PC Paul Morris, said: "SmartWater is versatile and extremely effective. It can be used to mark all kinds of property. It stays on the skin for many weeks."

SmartWater achieves a 100% conviction rate in courts and several hundred criminals have already been caught and convicted so far across the UK.

Search|Add to your Bookmarks|Send a mail from|Print this page|Back to previous page|Discuss this article|

Live Burnham-On-Sea Seafront Webcam

24-hour live pictures
See live images of the seafront and beach with Burnham's Webcam. Click here

What's on in Burnham-On-Sea

Things to see and do
Check the constantly updated Burnham-On-Sea calendar for what's happening. Click here

Live Burnham-On-Sea Seafront Webcam

Online video coverage
Watch free video coverage of events across Burnham with our video clips. Click here