THIEVES in Calderdale are being well and truly outsmarted, say police.
They have revealed that school burglaries have dropped by more than two-thirds since a crime prevention technique called Smartwater started being used at all 108 Calderdale schools.
During July and August, only17 burglaries were committed in the area compared to 55 for the same period last year.
Smartwater solution is a property-marking system encoded with a unique DNA profile specific to each school.
It is daubed on valuable equipment such as computers and is virtually impossible to remove.
It means the stolen property can be traced back to the school if it is found in the hands of thieves.
Det Chief Insp Martin Jordan, of Calderdale CID, said: "These figures show that when we use technology that works, it can certainly have an impact on crime.
"When schools are broken into we now have a real chance of finding the property that has been stolen.
"Smartwater makes it much easier for us to identify stolen items when we recover them.
"This will enable us to prosecute more easily anyone found with property that does not belong to them when it has been marked with Smartwater.
"Once it has been applied, Smartwater remains on items for over 100 years and is almost impossible to remove.
"In essence, the property is worthless to criminals."
Det Chief Insp Jordan added: "This successful drop in burglaries at our schools is not just about Smartwater.
"We have worked closely with schools, increasing our visits to premises and making contact with caretakers and other staff.
"The real success has been the way schools and the police have worked together. Smartwater is the added bonus in our fight to reduce crime.
"Not only have we seen a reduction in burglaries, but acts of vandalism and anti-social behaviour have also fallen."
And he warned: "Increased visits to second hand dealers and likely outlets for stolen property will continue in efforts to reduce the market for stolen goods.
"Where dealers are found to be in possession of any stolen items,prosecutions will follow."
Anyone with information about property stolen from schools should contact Crimestoppers anonymously and in confidence on 0800 555 111.