THIEVES who target the Asian community for gold were the subject of an awareness-raising event by police at the Aylesbury Mosque.
Although the crime is not currently a major issue in the town, police are concerned that the national trend could spread to the region if action is not taken to deter criminals.
As part of the event, neighbourhood officers handed out special forensic marking equipment after Friday prayers which allows them to identify stolen property and trace it back to the owner.
As well as being able to get their hands on the free equipment, those who attended the event in Havelock Street were also provided with some simple security tips to keep their property safe.
Local neighbourhood officer, PC Glen Crosland, said: “Thieves targeting people for gold is a problem nationally and we don’t want it to become a problem in Aylesbury.
“This is all about prevention and putting in place measures that can stop people from committing these crimes.
“I’ve been very pleased with the response of people who have come out today.”
The SelectaDNA kits come with a unique marking substance which can be wiped on gold, but also other valuables like televisions, iPods and games consoles.
The marking is matched up to a specific barcode, and by registering their use of the kit people can have their details stored on a database.
If a marked item is then lost or stolen people can contact their local police station and those goods can be flagged on their account as missing.
PC Crosland said: “If someone tells us their property has gone missing and they have registered their kit then when we go on a warranted search of a property we can check and see if any of the stuff there matches up with what has gone missing, and if so we can return it to its rightful owner.”
It is hoped the kits can help deter thieves and address the problem of property which is recovered by police but impossible to return to its original owners because of a lack of identifiable marks.
Imtiaz Bhatti, who took one of the free kits, said although he was not particularly worried about security it would not hurt to take the extra help.
He said: “Gold is valuable and the little bit I do have I would like to protect however I can.
“I have not suffered a burglary myself but I have friends and heard of friends of friends who have suffered.
“I think these criminals are very organised and I think everyone should take one of these kits because it sounds like a great idea.”
Anyone who would like a kit for themselves or their friends and family should visit www.selectadna.co.uk