Surprise in store for thieves

AN anti-theft device that offers cash rewards has proved so successful during a test in St Ives that it is being rolled out by some major retailers across the world. Vendormark is a permanent laser etching system being used by Boots following a successful

AN anti-theft device that offers cash rewards has proved so successful during a test in St Ives that it is being rolled out by some major retailers across the world.

Vendormark is a permanent laser etching system being used by Boots following a successful trial.

Other retailers such as ASDA are also preparing to use the product, which helps to prevent stolen goods being illegally resold at markets, car boot sales and via the internet.

The laser etches a message on to expensive products, including cosmetics and toiletries, warning the purchaser they should only be sold in Boots, and offering a reward to anyone who passes on information that leads to the prosecution of thieves or those selling the goods.


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Simon Jarvis, managing director of the Courtenay Group Ltd which was responsible for pioneering Vendormark, told The Hunts Post: "This device was designed to tackle retail crime and shoplifters. It targets people who steal for a profession, the prolific thieves who have worked out ways of getting round CCTV and shop security alarms."

Vendormark was said to have led to a 30 per cent reduction in thefts at Boots in St Ives.

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Robert Jennings, head of loss prevention and security for Boots, said: "We launched the use of Vendormark nationally last November and are very excited by the results we are achieving in cutting theft and that the police are achieving in taking effective action against illicit traders."

In a joint operation with Boots, Cambridgeshire police arrested and prosecuted a St Ives market trader for handling stolen goods after a member of the public spotted the security message, called the Vendormark 24-hour theft line, and claimed a reward of up to £250.

The scheme's success has meant firms such as L'Oreal in Germany and Wallmark have shown an interest in using the device.

Mr Jarvis added: "This is a nationwide initiative already tried and tested with great success in St Ives. The etching is subtle and thieves might not notice it when they steal the products but it will be noticed when they try to sell them on.

"Thieves know that when they have left the store they are pretty much in the clear, but with this device they can still get caught."

The scheme is also supported by Cambridgeshire police. A spokesman said: "It can be very frustrating for an officer when they recover property that they believe is stolen but they have no way of proving it as they cannot identify the owners or where it was stolen from.

"This anti-theft system is proving to be an invaluable crime prevention tool and in this case has enabled us to make a quick arrest and conviction."

INFORMATION: To find out more about Vendormark, you should visit www.courtenays.co.uk/vendormark

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