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Following the successful trials on a small number of sub-stations in and around Leigh, Lancashire, Signature Materials have been commissioned by Electricity North West to undertake a  larger marking trial. A sample of just over 740 stations have been identified by ENWL and work started 3-4 weeks ago putting down a permanent, readable mark on the copper within these stations. This mark will allow the metal to be tracked back to the owner and location by ENWL, Police and also Recyclers allowing metal thieves to be apprehended via a national database containing the marks.

Signature Materials has been in the local news. Catch up with these links.

Lead roofing at St Peter’s Church and the Northampton Guildhall have been elected for Signature Materials initial trials.

Electricity North West Ltd ( ENWL) are responsible for approximately 45,000 sub-stations in the North West Of England. Following involvement in networking meetings ENWL have been working with Signature Materials to develop marking techniques suitable for use on the copper earthing straps found in sub-stations and which have been prone to theft. Initially 5 sub-stations previously targetted by thieves, in some cases more than once, in and around Leigh in Greater Manchester have now had the copper marked by Stuart Preston of Signature Materials.

Theft of lead sheet from roof tops is a problem across the length and breadth of the country, due to the high scrap value currently seen and the ease of removal in many cases. Signature Materials has been working with the Lead Sheet Association (LSA), and various other bodies such as English Heritage and the Church Conservation Trust to identify methods to mark lead, to act as a further deterrent when used with alarms for example.

Signature Materials through close links with two large organisations affected by metal theft, have successfully put customer specfied permanent marks on a range of copper wire from approx 0.5mm diameter to 3.25mm diameter.

Signature Materials has run the first batch of training to show Roofing Contractors how to permanently mark lead sheet materials. The course was held at the Boilerhouse in Grantham using the new test rig built for Signature Materials which mocks the lead installations a typical roofing job would include. Contractors who were members of the Lead Sheet Association ( who have worked very closely with Signature Materials) were the first to be shown how to mark lead, and got certificates and photo ID cards as approved lead markers.

David Arthur, Manager and Co-ordinator of Signature Materials, chatted live on BBC Lincolnshire Radio on 15 August about the project.

The Financial Times talks to IOM3 CEO Bernie Rickinson about the Signature Materials project.

Materials Today reports on Signature Materials.