A CRIME prevention scheme has been launched on a Hartlepool estate as part of a Home Office pilot project.

So far, 200 residents on the Burbank estate have agreed to have their possessions marked for free with an indelible solution.

Called Smartwater, the solution has its own DNA-style identification code. Stolen goods can be identified by using an ultra-violet light.

The owner's details are then traced through a computer database. About 50 per cent of eligible households have taken up the scheme, but it is hoped more will follow.

The project is part of the Burbank Community Safety Initiative, which involves the police, Hartlepool Borough Council, the fire brigade, Housing Hartlepool and various churches.

Project co-ordinator Bryan Neale said: "We would urge anyone who has not yet taken advantage of the scheme to give us a call to arrange to have their property marked. We are sending out a strong message to would-be burglars and people who handle stolen goods that they run an increased risk of being caught if they steal or deal in property marked with Smartwater."

All sorts of property can be marked, including electrical items, jewellery and mobile telephones. Up to 20 items per household can be marked and the whole process only takes up to 30 minutes.

For more information, contact (01429) 405584.