'DNA' property marking kits to protect Scotland’s farmers and rural communities from thieves have been provided to the police by rural insurer NFU Mutual.

The first of these Mutual funded marking systems, manufactured by SelectaDNA, has now been rolled out for use on farm machinery and tools in South Lanarkshire.

Each kit contains forensic liquid with a DNA code, which makes it easier for police to identify where goods have been stolen from and prosecute thieves. It also works as a deterrent, with stickers warning would-be thieves that machinery, farm equipment and other valuables have been invisibly marked.

Over 200 kits, which have the potential to mark up to ten thousand items, have been funded by NFU Mutual as part of its support for the Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime. The kits are being given out by police in targeted areas to protect repeat victims of theft and at events where they will be offered free of charge.

Speaking at a marking event at its Strathaven Agency, Mutual agent David Gavigan said: “Combined with good farmyard security and effective policing, property marking is a one of the best weapons in our armoury to beat thieves.

“Theft and the disruption it causes is a continuing cause of anxiety for farmers, so we’re pleased to support this scheme with Police Scotland to make it harder for criminals to operate in the countryside.”

National Rural Crime Coordinator, Police Inspector Alan Dron, said: “Thieves rely on being able to transport, store and sell-on stolen goods out of the countryside without it being traced – the SelectaDNA system can help us to protect property, catch thieves and return stolen goods to their rightful owners.”