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Call to protect London’s war memorials from thieves

PUBLISHED: 13:01 26 August 2009 | UPDATED: 14:45 05 October 2010

A CALL for more security has been made to protect London’s war memorials from thieves. The London Assembly is investigating preserving memorials through the planning process to protect them against theft and vandalism

By Mike Brooke

A CALL for more security has been made to protect London's war memorials from thieves.

The London Assembly is investigating preserving memorials through the planning process to protect them against theft and vandalism.

The call follows the theft of 11 bronze plaques from a memorial in north London thought to be worth £90,000, which has raised fears that stealing from war memorials could become commonplace.

Assembly member Tony Arbour is calling for plaques or statues to be treated with 'SmartWater' so they can be traced by police.

"It's shocking and appalling that we need to consider protecting memorials to the dead," he said.

"But better to be proactive and act now than do nothing and see more London monuments desecrated."

SmartWater is a liquid invisible except under UV light which makes an individual 'DNA'-style identification mark that can be read even if the metal is melted down.

It has been used by religious organisations on church roofs so that the police can trace stolen metals if they are later recovered.

His report, Not Forgotten: A review of London's war memorials, published in July, identified 6,000 memorials, all being recorded by the Imperial War Museum.

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