Home Security Advice

The Home Office offer the following excellent advice on protecting your valuables by postcoding them

Coded for keeps: Postcoding your property can help deter thieves

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Marking your property can deter burglars and help the police to get your property back to you if it is stolen.


Do you own things of sentimental value which would be impossible to replace? Or things which could be replaced but at a cost?

Your possessions may mean a lot to you but to a thief they are just another way of making easy cash.

Of course the best thing to do it to protect your home against the thief. But if someone did break in and steal things, could you describe them fully and accurately to the police? It’s not as easy as it sounds when all you have to rely on is your memory.

Every year, property worth hundreds of thousands of pounds is recovered by the police and not returned to its rightful owners, simply because it can’s be properly identified.

Property marking deters thieves. They find identifiable property dangerous to handle and difficult to dispose of. It also helps the police to return your property if it is found.

Postcode your property

Your postcode, plus your house or flat number (or the first two letters of your house name) provides a simple and unique way of identifying your property. A person living at 7 West Albion Street, Notown NT42 9WA for example would NT42 9WA 7. A person living at Crossroads Cottage, High Street Anytown AN3 1NZ would use AN3 1NZ CR.

If you don’t know your postcode, ask at your local post office. 

How to mark your property

There are several ways to mark your property depending on the type of object you want to mark. The alternatives are:-

Engraving or etching

Engraving or etching is suitable for many hard surfaces and can be done using an electric engraving tool or a hand engraver. This method leaves a visible and permanent mark.

Ultra Violet or ‘Invisible’ Marking

An Ultra-Violet (UV) pen can put an invisible mark on your property which can only be seen by using a UV lamp. Only use UV marking when other methods would reduce the value of the object. Remember that the mark can fade in time, especially when exposed to sunlight, and can be washed off so it needs renewing regularly.

Ceramic Marking

Ceramic marking pens have been developed to mark china, glass or any glazed surface. They do not cut or scratch the surface but leave a permanent mark.


You can mark heavier metal items such as lawn mowers with a hammer and a set of punches.

Where you mark your property is important – particularly if you are using the engraving method. If you want the mark to be out of sight, choose somewhere behind or underneath the article – but not somewhere so hidden that the police would not be able to find it.

Try to mark a surface that cannot be removed without spoiling the appearance or performance of the article.

You can get easy-to-use property marking kits from stationers and DIY stores.

Keep a record of your property

Marking things like jewellery or antiques is difficult and could reduce their value. You should get expert advice in these cases.

You can still protect items that can’t be marked by keeping a record of them. A simple and effective way of doing this is to photograph each item, preferably in colour, paying special attention to any distinguishing marks such as initials or crests which may be used to identify the item. Take the photograph against a plain background and include a ruler to give an idea of size.

Use the record form on this leaflet to keep a list of the items you have marked and where the marks are. It’s a good idea to give a second copy of the list and the photographs to someone you trust for them to look after.

Keep your own list safe at all times.

Advertising the fact that your property has been marked may warn off thieves. You can do this by displaying a ‘Coded for Keeps’ sticker anywhere a burglar might get in, for example on the doors and windows of your home.

For more advice on marking or protecting your property, contact your local police station.

For a copy of Your Practical Guide to Crime Prevention contact the Crime Prevention Officer at your local police station or write to:

Crime Prevention Publicity
Home Office
Room 155
50 Queen Anne's Gate
London SW1H 9AT

Source:- http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/crimprev/cpck.htm


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