BY JACKIE KEOGH
A COMMUNITY group on the Mizen Peninsula have taken their lead from the North Yorkshire Police and are marking items of private property with their Eircode numbers in a bid to tackle crime.
Schull-based Garda Jonathan McCarthy explained that the Community Councils in Ballydehob, Schull and Goleen, together with the local Neighbourhood Watch, and the assistance of the gardaí, launched the Mizen Community Safety Project early last year.
The community groups pooled their money and invested €4,000 in a computerised property marking system devised by a company called Telesis.
The system was first used by the North Yorkshire Police and they found it so useful preventing theft, and in the recovery of stolen property, that the Mizen Peninsula decided to follow suit and be the first community to roll it out in Ireland, only to be followed by Tipperary and Monaghan in recent months.
So far, Garda McCarthy said, thousands of people from Ballydehob, Schull, Goleen and Durrus have used the fully automated system to mark everything from a computer to a fishing rod.
He said: ‘It is like micro-engraving because it uses a small pin, but it doesn’t damage the property.’
‘For items that can be easily stolen and passed on, such as bicycles, laptops, musical equipment and mobile phones, the system is an added protection,’ said Garda McCarthy, ‘and the same applied to farm equipment, such as power tools, chainsaws, lawnmowers and engines.’
The facility is available to everyone in the community on special convened ‘open days’ that are advertised in The Southern Star, on posters and via text alert.
The last open day was in Baltimore in August which proved to be a popular event. ‘Around 20 boats were marked in the space of two hours,’ said Garda McCarthy.