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Property marking

Every year, police recover hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of stolen property from the hands of criminals, but all too often there is no way of identifying its rightful owners.

Being able to trace the ownership of the property not only helps people get the property back, but it can also provide evidence that is vital in securing convictions.

Suggested marks

  • Public – The postcode of the premises where the property is located, and your name or part of your name.
  • Students and schools – The initials of your university – YU (York University), or school for example – and your student number.

Once you have marked your property, you must make people aware that it is marked. Place notices where they can be seen by visitors and passers by.

Dot peen

We have invested in the top-of-the-range “dot peen” property marking machines, and are offering the service free to residents across North Yorkshire.

Find out more about dot peen property marking.

Forensic marking

A colourless liquid solution which is applied to your valuable items and gives them a unique chemical ‘code’. It cannot be seen by the naked eye and is incredibly difficult to remove. The solution glows under ultraviolet light, allowing the police to detect it.

Forensic marking providers SelectaDNA, Smartwater and Red Web are all accredited by Secured by Design which is a UK Police flagship initiative.

Ultra-violet marking Permanent ultra-violet (UV) marker pens are available from most large stationers. The mark is invisible until it is viewed under a UV lamp.

UV marking is effective because the criminal cannot see the marking. UV marking does not affect any resale value, so it is suitable for electrical goods and other items that you may wish to sell. Sunlight can cause UV marks to fade after about 18 months. Re-do the marking when the UV marks fade.


Any metal or plastic items can be engraved and their value will not be affected.

Marks can be engraved by:

  • Using a diamond-tipped pen, other sharp-pointed tools or by an electric engraver.
  • Using an etching tool to mark your post code on to bicycles, mowers, engines and other heavy, metal objects.
  • Ceramic marking ‘Ceramic’ or ‘titanium’ marking pens are available from specialist stores and are effective on ceramic surfaces. Marks have the appearance of faint pencil marks. They are impossible to remove without damaging the ceramic surface.