The local Neighbourhood Policing Team has invested in a so-called ‘dot peen’ property marking machine, and is offering the service free to residents and businesses.
Every year, police recover hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of stolen property from criminals and this new system - which has been rolled out in other parts of North Yorkshire - is designed to identify its rightful owners.
North Yorkshire Police said being able to trace the ownership of the property can also provide evidence that is vital to securing criminal convictions.
Sergeant Stuart Grainger, of Richmondshire Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Richmondshire is a very safe place, but we do know that cross-border criminals target rural areas like ours, on the look-out for unattended outbuildings containing valuable property.
“Dot peen is suitable for use on farm equipment, bikes, saddles, electronic devices, tools and much more – and marking your property is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from being a victim of crime.
“Criminals will see the permanent unique number, and know immediately that your property is too hot to handle. If the worst happened and you were targeted, marked property is far harder to sell on, and we are much more likely to be able to return it to you.”
Dot peen marking involves using a tungsten carbide-tipped pin to indent an object with dots to create a visible, permanent unique number. The unique number will be entered onto the national Immobilise property register database to increase the chances that it will be reunited with its owner if it is lost or stolen.
The new machine can mark at a speed of two characters per second, to an accuracy of 0.006mm, and can be used on everything from saddles and farm equipment tools to PlayStations and laptop computers.
While other methods of property marking, such as UV marker pens or forensically-coded liquid, can also be effective in reuniting property with its rightful owners, police say the visual deterrent of a permanently marked serial number alone could be enough to deter would-be thieves.
For more information about the free dot peen property marking service in Richmondshire, email [email protected], or pick up a leaflet from your local police station in Richmond, Leyburn or Catterick Garrison.
Dot peen property marking is also available in York, Selby and Harrogate.