Boats and mobile phones are to be fitted with electronic tags in two pilot schemes as part of the government's chipping of goods initiative.
The scheme, in conjunction with Tri-mex and HPI, will see small silicon chips implanted into the goods, revealing their origin and ownership.
Tri-mex will be working with phone manufacturer Nokia to tag consignments of mobile phones. These can then be tracked by satellite.
HPI is linking up with the British Marine Industries Federation (BMIF) to tag both new and second-hand boats. The tag will bear the industry standard hull identification number.
Research has shown that 10% of the cost of high-tech consumer goods goes to cover losses in the supply chain. And the BMIF says there are estimated annual losses of more than £40m from boat theft.
Home Office minister Charles Clarke said: “These new electronic tags will act as a powerful deterrent to the would-be thief, making it less attractive to steal other people's property and making it easier to return it to its rightful owner.”
The two pilot schemes are the first to benefit from £5.5m of Home Office funding for projects to reduce crime by using radio frequency identification (RFID) systems. The UK is the first country to promote the use of RFID technology to reduce property crime. Evidence from the tagging systems will be admissible in court.