Record number of homes and businesses sign up to West Mercia Police crime initiative

By Lisa O'Brien | Crime | Published:

Almost 20,000 homes and businesses have signed up to an initiative to deter would-be thieves across the West Mercia region in the past year.

Chief superintendent Tom Harding

A record number have signed up to the We Don’t Buy Crime scheme.

In the 12 months leading up to April this year, 18,643 SmartWater forensic property marking kits were registered across the cities, towns and villages covered by West Mercia Police.

In 2015, the first ever We Don’t Buy Crime town was launched in Cleobury Mortimer.

The initiative saw every resident in the town offered a free SmartWater kit after an investment by Cleobury Mortimer Town Council and West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion.

Five years later, there are now hundreds of We Don’t Buy Crime areas across Telford, Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire with signs at key locations sending a clear message to criminals.

Earlier this year the initiative won a national award for its work.

In the past 12 months We Don’t Buy Crime co-ordinator Estelle Stock, along with the rest of the team, supported by volunteers and organisations, has worked tirelessly to increase the number of homes and businesses protected.

The record increase takes the number of SmartWater registrations across the West Mercia Police area to more than 54,000.


Chief Superintendent Tom Harding, from West Mercia Police, has been behind We Don’t Buy Crime since its launch.

He said: “I’m absolutely delighted at the dedication of the We Don’t Buy Crime team with everyone working to ensure as many homes and businesses as possible are protected.

“Independent academic research has found that there is a significant reduction in crime in We Don’t Buy Crime areas and just as importantly residents feel safer and more reassured.”

We Don’t Buy Crime, which looks to tackle acquisitive crime and associated harm, also works with second-hand stores to help prevent the resale of stolen goods and fuel stations to prevent motorists driving off without paying for fuel.


The award-winning initiative also utilises the latest in covert technology leaving criminals exposed and catching them committing crime.

Chief Superintendent Harding added: “Being a victim of a crime such as burglary can have a significant impact on victims, often leaving them to feel unsafe in their own home.

"With all of our measures we are seeking to increase the risk to criminals that we will be caught. Quite simply I want our work to put criminals out of business and make our communities safer.”

Mr Campion said: “It is amazing to see the record number that have signed up to We Don’t Buy Crime, and just how many homes and businesses are now SmartWater protected as a result of my investment, and the hard work and dedication of everyone involved. "My central mission as commissioner has always been to prevent people from becoming victims of crime and protect those that are vulnerable.

"It is right that people feel safe and secure in their homes and place of work, and SmartWater is a proven deterrent against burglary and acquisitive crime.

“Since its introduction We Don’t Buy Crime has seen some great success stories from communities all across West Mercia, and I want to ensure we continue this great work and reach as many people as possible.”

For more information follow @WeDontBuyCrime on Twitter or visit the We Don’t Buy Crime Facebook page.

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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