Security marker for our York stone flags

Innovative forensic traceable liquid to join fight against paving stones thefts in Leeds

Stolen PavementA state-of-the-art initiative to tackle the theft of Yorkshire paving stones is to be introduced in hot-spot areas by Leeds City Council.

South Leeds Life has reported on several incidents paving stone thefts, in the Beeston and Hunslet Moor area earlier this year.

Working in partnership with crime-prevention company SmartWater®, public stone flags across the city will be sprayed with a forensic traceable liquid which carrying an identifiable forensic code, can assist the police in positively linking criminals to any thefts which have taken place. The liquid will be able to confirm not only that the flags belong to the council, but also where in the city they were taken from.

This move by the council is in response to a rise in the number of public paving stones that have had to be replaced by the authority over recent years.


Cllr Richard Lewis and SmartWater’s Steve Lloyd
Cllr Richard Lewis and SmartWater’s Steve Lloyd

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, said:

“The number of public paving stones that we have had to replace due to thefts in our communities has unfortunately risen in recent years. It was for this reason that we decided to investigate what options might be available to us to not only act as a deterrent and help reduce this crime, but also at the same time assist the police in arresting any perpetrators.

“The results we have seen from similar initiatives that SmartWater has undertaken to help other local authorities tackle a variety of different crimes through the use of this forensic traceable liquid have been positive, and we are hopeful that this will be replicated here in Leeds.”

SmartWater chief executive Phil Cleary, said:

“SmartWater has aided the successful conviction of hundreds of criminals. As a result it is considered to be a powerful deterrent, which will benefit Leeds City Council and make their Yorkshire paving stones significantly less attractive to thieves.”