Thieves to be hit by Hermes

New electronic marking system will put police and consumers a step ahead of mobile phone and property thieves

AN innovative new system to prevent thieves using stolen mobile phones and to trace stolen property has been introduced to the region by Safer North Devon.

Unlike traditional “marking” services, the new equipment – codename Hermes - creates a secure computer account that can only be accessed by the owner, enabling them to instantly immobilise their phone if lost or stolen.

They can also add other electrical items with a serial number barcode, such as iPods or laptops – and even bicycles – allowing them to build up a record of their property.

Once an account is created, no one else can alter it, but police can view the serial number information and will know instantly if recovered items are stolen and can return them. The information will also be available to local second hand dealers, in case anyone tries to sell goods on.

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Hermes consists of a small laptop and scanner and is being sponsored by Safer North Devon, which plans to hold drop in days at electrical retailers, local colleges or public events and make it available for local police to stage events in their communities.

“It is the first of its kind in North Devon and there is a need for it, because if people nowadays added up the total of their property, it amounts to a lot of expensive equipment,” said Donna Woolway from safer North Devon.

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“Comet in Barnstaple is keen to support this and happy for us to go there and approach their customers about marking their items.”

The system was used in Braunton by PCSOs Jo carter and Andy Frisby, who held a series of drop in sessions around the village.

“It’s a secure database and the account belongs to the owner of the phone,” said PCSO Frisby.

“We won’t have access to personal information, only the serial number. The more information we can get on this system, the better, it’s new and has only just arrived, but we want to be quite proactive with it.”

Check the North Devon Gazette for future Hermes property marking events, or contact Safer North Devon on (01271) 335241 to enquire about organising a visit.

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