The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has turned to cutting edge forensic technology developed by the UK crime-fighters – SmartWater – to reduce the risk of theft from the world’s greatest Shakespeare heritage sites in Stratford-upon-Avon.  The five beautifully preserved Shakespeare family homes, along with other heritage properties cared for by the Trust, have been marked with SmartWater’s unique traceable solution, financed by the SmartWater Foundation, the not for profit arm of SmartWater.  The solution is a proven deterrent to theft; it enables the police to prove the provenance of stolen goods and bring a prosecution against the thieves.

The initiative follows the theft in March of lead piping from Hall’s Croft, the fragile Jacobean manor which was home to Shakespeare’s daughter Susannah and her husband Dr John Hall.  Phil Cleary, Co-Founder and Director of the SmartWater Foundation said, “We are now focussing our research efforts on forensic technology to protect the world’s cultural heritage sites.  When we heard from the Trust’s buildings conservation team about the incident at Hall’s Croft, we were happy to be able to make this donation of our technology and services to protect the buildings linked directly with Shakespeare.”

Heather Lees, Director of Finance and Planning at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust said, “We are very grateful to the SmartWater Foundation for the generous gift of treatments formulated specifically for each of our special properties.  The Trust is an independent, self-sustaining charity which receives no public subsidy or direct revenue funding, and maintaining the physical fabric of Shakespeare’s legacy is an ongoing and costly challenge.   This will help us reduce the risk of loss and damage caused by thieves.”

Each SmartWater solution contains a robust forensic code and their scientists only need a speck to be able to conduct forensic analysis.  The product has been used on many occasions to convict metal thieves, most notably an organised crime gang from Nuneaton who targeted the copper cable of the national rail network and were sentenced to a combined eleven years in prison following evidence provided by SmartWater’s scientists.

Police Sergeant Simon Ryan, of Warwickshire Police, said, “It is always our priority to ensure that we educate, support and encourage the use of crime prevention advice.

“We take an active role in working with our local businesses to help them stay safe, protect them from harm and loss.”

To find out more about our products and services available to the heritage sector, please complete our enquiry form here.