Australian Police

Australian Police

The Thin Blue Line – Australian Police

ID Marking


Neighbourhood Watch & Community Safety


Other means of identification.

Other than the engraving or U/V pen marking of valuable items, two other methods of marking may be an option for tools, trailers and other solid or robust items. Both have been used by ‘industry’ for years.

1. The use of ‘steel marking stamps’ on hard steel or metal objects.
Stamping will result in an indented number which is difficult to hide or obscure. If the number is ground off, such grinding is quite evident (and obviously suspicious). If an identification number is ground off a metal object, scientific methods do exist which may restore it sufficiently for the original owner to identify it.

2. Welding.

‘A’ frames on trailers and other solid steel or metal objects can have an identification feature welded onto them. Such an identification marking will stand proud of the metal work and quite obvious. If such weld is ground off and then painted over, evidence of such grinding can be readily found, and again scientific methods exist which may restore the original weld feature.

  • A chap that owned a small business hiring out trailers lost a horse float when is wasn’t returned a few months ago. He attended at the address the hirer had supplied but no one had heard of him. Our businessman thought he would never see the trailer again and reported the theft to police. Our businessman marked all trailers with his distinctive colour scheme and welded a number on the ‘A’ frame.Several weeks later he was travelling along Main North Road when a horse float caught his attention because it looked a lot like his. Then he thought, “Noooooo, this one is nice and clean, new paint job and number plates.” The he noticed that the right side tyre had a small chunk of rubber missing exactly like the trailer he had stolen. He noted the new registration number and dropped back a fair way and followed.

    The trailer ended up at a northern address, of which he also wrote down and reported to police. Police attended and the ‘owner’ denied any knowledge of a stolen trailer. Police needed positive identification of the trailer and our businessman’s trailer didn’t have a VIN number. Then our businessman remembered that he had a weld on the ‘A’ frame. He and police checked the ‘A’ frame immediately, no welds, and as smooth as a baby’s bottom. No problem -police called up the crime scene examiner in the area and he was there in 20 minutes. He scraped the paint off the ‘A’ frame, where the weld should have been, and applied a secrete solution and wait for it to react. A short time later, sure enough the previously welded marking began to show through very clearly. The thief was arrested and charged with the larceny of the trailer and the businessman received his trailer back, with a new paint job. The extreme heat from the weld alters the metal forever, an nothing can change that.

Both methods are very useful because they both alter the structure of the metal of the object which cannot be deleted or changed by a thief. The main consideration would be what to stamp or weld onto the items in question. If the stamping or welding of the full license number is not be possible, due to the size of the objects being marked, then it is suggested that initials could be used.

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