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SitexOrbis cameras help police catch boiler thieves

10 June 2010

A crackdown on rising boiler thefts in Sefton has met with early success following Merseyside Police arresting burglars in connection with two break-ins. The burglars were caught with the help of SitexOrbis cameras triggered by alarms as they broke into properties over the Easter long weekend.

Since last August 2009, 100 boilers costing a total of £170,000 have been stolen in the area mainly from empty social housing being refurbished. Recently nine were stolen in one week. Residents have become additionally anxious following boiler thefts from occupied properties.

The crackdown is the initiative of a partnership set up to deal with the crime wave and the fear and inconvenience it is inflicting on the neighbourhood. Partners include Merseyside Police, Sefton Council, social housing provider One Vision Housing, contractor Connaught, SmartWater and 24/7 property protection specialist SitexOrbis.

Finding that securing properties was not enough of a deterrent, the taskforce has become committed to catching the thieves to remove the problem.

SitexOrbis video transmitting alarms

Central to achieving the desired results are the use of portable intruder alarms with visual verification known as Videofied, which are installed and monitored by SitexOrbis. In essence, triggering the alarms also activates a camera which transmits a series of 10 second videos to the company’s 24/7 alarm receiving centre (ARC), which is situated in north-west England and is BS5979 Category II accredited.

On Good Friday and Easter Sunday, early in April 2010, incident operators at the ARC on receiving videos of suspicious activity immediately summoned police to the addresses concerned. The police, who have agreed to respond quickly to callouts where possible, successfully picked up men in connection with the break ins.

To date the police have questioned six people in connection with the break-ins, two of whom have been arrested and charged.

The new security system has already won praise from the police for reducing false alarms and helping to identify perpetrators.

Mark Cosh, European director at SitexOrbis said: "We have been working very closely with the police to provide a cost effective way to help them catch thieves in trouble hotspots by focusing their resources on genuine alarms and helping to provide visual verification of what happened.

"This early success of alarms with visual verification in Sefton will help assure residents that something is being done about crime in the area. It will also help to house tenants faster by stopping delays caused by boiler thefts."

One Vision Housing area voids manager Phil Renton said: "SitexOrbis showed great willingness to help resolve the problem as inexpensively and quickly as possible. They even worked over the Easter break to speed up the implementation. All in all, they acted like a fourth emergency service."

The alarms are quick to install, require no mains power or phone line, can be moved easily from property to property and can be rented. SmartWater identification methods are also being used to help place individuals at the crime scene.

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