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Do you recognise old pictures or Home Guard certificate?

By Herald Express  |  Posted: September 14, 2012

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POLICE and the Herald Express are teaming up to help reunite burglary victims with their stolen property.

In this new weekly column, we will feature distinctive items which have been seized by police officers throughout South Devon.

The South Devon pro-active unit targets offenders and regularly carries out warrants and searches in an effort to recover stolen property.

The items featured are suspected stolen goods, which police often find it difficult to trace the owners of.

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Det Con Simon Sherwood said: "A lot of work goes into identifying property in an attempt to re-unite it with the owners.

"This is especially rewarding when the items are of particular sentimental value."

In The Swag Bag this week is a beautiful and unique leather-bound photo album (pictured full of pictures from across the generations.

The album is dated August 6, 1908, with a hand written inscription to Alice on the inside cover.

One photo, shown, is of 'Dad'.

"It is the size of a modern album but its quality and the work that has gone into it is significant," DC Sherwood said.

"Inside was a certificate in the name of Phillips, recognising the time he served in the Home Guard between 1940 and 1944.

"This may or may not be connected but it is something else that we would like to identify."

Another picture shows a couple on their wartime wedding day.

Police say the identity of the couple could hold the key to helping them track down the owners of military memorabilia that would be of sentimental value.

DC Sherwood added: "We want to reassure victims that we are out there working hard for them.

"We can recover property months, even years, after it has been stolen."

Police are encouraging property owners to list their possessions together with any serial numbers, and mark them in some way.

"Especially with jewellery, it really helps us if you have photos of items," DC Sherwood said. "This way we can work together to recover property and convict criminals who cause much upset."

And he urged the public: "Keep an eye on this feature which will give you an insight into some of the property we are working on.

"And you never know, that stolen item which you thought you would never see again, could appear on this page in the future."

In future editions we will also feature photos of items that have been reported as stolen, but not yet traced by police.

Detective Inspector Nick Wilden said: "We hope that we can reunite victims of crime with their stolen property as losing valuable and sentimental items can have a major impact on people.

"Each year, police recover property worth thousands of pounds and often we cannot identify the owners.

"It is really important to mark your property as it helps us immensely in our investigations and increases your chances of getting your items back.

"If your property is clearly identifiable, it is less attractive to a thief. It will be worth less money to them and is harder for them to sell."

Police advise that you mark valuables with your house name or number, followed by your post code, using one of the following methods:

ultra-violet marking pens: These leave an invisible mark which can only be seen under UV light. It may need to be reapplied every year

property marking solutions: A clear solution containing unique traceable elements

engraving: Property can be marked using scribing pens or etching

electronic registers: When you buy an item, manufacturers may allow you to register the details electronically. Police recommend you register your property and details for free on the immobilise website at www.immobilise.com

Use window stickers in your home to advertise the fact that you have marked and registered all your possessions

For further advice or information, log on to www.devon-cornwall.police.uk or talk to your local crime prevention officer. You can also pick up a property marking leaflet at your nearest police station.

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