A HIGH-TECH solution is helping protect war memorials across Stockton borough from metal thieves.

Stockton Borough Council is applying SmartWater, a liquid used to track stolen property, to all the war memorials in the borough which have metal plaques.

The area was one of the first to experience problems from metal thieves when a bronze plaque at the cenotaph in Port Clarence was stolen in 2006.

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The Royal British Legion went to work finding out the lost names so the plaque could be restored.

Since then, metal thieves have desecrated war memorials across the country to get their hands on metal.

The Smartwater contains DNA-style coded information.

The crime prevention fluid is invisible once applied, except under ultraviolet light.

Itwill withstand burning and melting, making it harder for criminals to dispose of stolen metals.

The council has received a stock of SmartWater from a national project called In Memoriam 2014, a partnership between the War Memorials Trust and the SmartWater Foundation which is working with local communities to locate, log and protect the nation's war memorials in time for Remembrance Day 2014, the centenary year of the start of the First World War.

Roger Bannister, president of the Stockton, Ya rm and District branch of the Royal British Legion, said: "This is a splendid idea which will help protect our war memorials and I am sure it will prove a success.

"War memorials are very special places and, with conflicts still claiming lives, they are every bit as relevant today as when they first became a common sight following the First World War."