Security marking items makes it easier for police to identify them and return them to you.
It may also act as a deterrent to thieves, who don't want to be caught holding or passing on stolen items.
Always include information that will help identify you as the owner of the property, for example, a postcode.
How to security mark your property
- Ultra violet (UV) or invisible marking - UV pens put an invisible mark on your property that can only be seen under UV light. These markers are available from most stationery shops.
- Damage marking - Garden equipment, heavy electrical items and power tools can be marked with a painted sign, making them easy to identify and deterring thieves. This may reduce the resale value of the item.
- Engraving or etching - Both methods are suitable for many hard surfaces and can be done using an electric engraving tool or hand engraver.
- Ceramic marking - Ceramic marking pens are designed to mark china, glass or glazed surfaces. They do not cut or scratch the surface but do leave a permanent mark.
- Forensic marking solutions - These are harmless solutions that contain a unique forensic code (like a fingerprint), making it easy to identify marked items. They also leave a distinctive mark on anything they touch, which helps the police to identify anything or anyone they have been in contact with.
- Specialist marking (valuable items) - Marking items like jewellery or antiques can be difficult and could reduce their value. There are now marking and valuation services specifically for these types of items. Ask at a good quality jewellers or antique shop for a recommendation.
- Photograph your valuables - Take colour photographs of any items you don't want to mark, paying special attention to any distinguishing marks such as initials or crests. Photographs should be taken against a plain background and include a ruler to give an idea of size.
Watch our video for more advice
Other precautions you can take
- Record serial numbers and mobile phone IMEI numbers
- Register your valuables on Immobilise.com - the UK national property database
- Keep receipts when you buy new and used items
- Door and window stickers that say 'property is security marked' may deter thieves from trying to access your home
Be aware: following these steps does not guarantee property will not be stolen, or that it will be located if it is stolen.
If you are a victim of burglary
As soon as possible:
- Contact your bank/building society/credit card company immediately to cancel any bank/credit cards - do this even before you contact us
- Report the incident to us
- Contact your home contents insurer
- Replace door and window locks.
Take the Home Office questionnaire and find out how secure your home is.
Read the Land Registry's advice on protecting your home from property fraud. Alternatively, visit the Land Registry website.