Some €300,000 in funding has been granted for a property marking crime prevention programme as part of the Rural Safety Plan.

Property marking involves marking items of property with the owner’s Eircode, making it harder for criminals to sell on stolen property and aids in returning it to its rightful owners.

James O’Neill is founder and CEO of Property Marking Ireland, the not-for-profit social enterprise company that will roll out the programme.

He said: “In Monaghan, the local authority purchased the property-marking machine and we had signage erected saying ‘property marking in operation here’. The chief superintendent reported back about 14 months later to say that there was over 80% reduction in property crime in Monaghan.”

In the last five years, Property Marking Ireland has marked over 600,000 items of property and the programme is being delivered in over 20 local authorities.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee, who announced the funding, said: “Property marking can act as an effective deterrent to property theft.

“This funding from the Department will mean that the service will eventually be available across Ireland.”