THE latest security technology is being used as part of a bid to crack down on thieves and vandals targeting gardeners.

After falling victim to a series of thefts and break-ins, Godmanchester allotment holders have decided to take matters into their own hands by using a high-tech chemical coding system on their tools and gardening paraphernalia.

Hopes are that the liquid marker known as SmartWater will deter thieves from targeting the site, which over the summer suffered two attacks, and enable stolen items to be returned to their rightful owners.

Godmanchester Allotment Association secretary Roger Wood said the idea was proposed by the police after spades and forks were taken from the allotments in Cambridge Road.

He said: "Over the last few years we have had to deal with a succession of vandals and thieves, like any allotment site. It seems to be very random. We had not had any problems for quite a few months, then we had a couple of instances.

"We know it is a very visible site. It is very easy for someone to break in. We are on the road going out of Godmanchester. The allotments are divided by the road, with north and south sections, and there is just a low fence.

"We are trying to mark all the moveable stuff with SmartWater. We mark them and record the details, if they are stolen, we can go back to the police and say this is the chemical trace."