War memorials in Gloucestershire marked with anti-theft liquid

Prestbury war memorial Prestbury's war memorial was badly damaged in 2011 and had to be replaced

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War memorials in Gloucestershire are being treated with anti-theft liquid in an attempt to protect them.

SmartWater has a chemical fingerprint that links to a crime scene and is only visible under ultra violet light.

The War Memorials Trust is working with the SmartWater Foundation, which is donating its product as part of the Memoriam 2014 scheme.

The scheme aims to protect all memorials in the run-up to the 100th anniversary of World War I.

War Memorial Trust volunteer Colonel Mike Bennett said: "The plaques are made of varying materials but the most commonly used was bronze - which is of particular interest to the criminal fraternity.

"Just after the First World War there was a surplus of bronze from all the shell cases which could be melted down."

'Ultimate insult'

The War Memorials Trust estimates one monument is vandalised per week for its bronze, copper or other metal, despite them having "relatively little value".

"To me it's the ultimate insult to those that gave their lives for our freedom," said Mr Bennett,

"And we want to make sure on Remembrance Day when we have a crowd of people, that the memorial is in top class condition."

In Memoriam 2014 is supported by the Royal British Legion and the Cadet Forces.

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