A METHODIST chapel is employing the latest anti-theft techniques to protect its prized assets.
The reverend and stewards at Oakmere Methodist Chapel, near Delamere, are working alongside Cheshire Constabulary officers to deter would-be offenders.
SmartWater devices have been employed around areas of the Abbey Lane site after the ornate wooden archway in the chapel gardens were stolen last year.
Anyone attempting to steal items will risk being covered in an invisible paint, that will stay on clothing and skin for up to 60 days, which is detectable by ultraviolet light.
PCSO Sophie Baxter said: “Last year someone got into the gardens behind the chapel and removed a wooden archway , destroying the plants growing around it. We regularly patrol this area and will continue to do so, but the SmartWater is extra protection, not only for the garden furniture, but also anything inside the chapel.
“The chapel is at the heart of the community and it is a real shame that some people are abusing it.”
As SmartWater is coded, police can track any items taken in the future. Rev Pat Billsborrow hopes it will keep the chapel and its contents safe.
He said: “One of our stewards, Eric Wright looks after the garden. He re-built the archway and tends to the beautiful little garden. It was very disappointing to see it destroyed last year.
“We are very grateful to Sophie for arranging this kit.”
To contact your local neighbourhood policing team call 0845 458 6393 or email western.rural.npt@ cheshire.pnn.police.uk