Antique theft crisis puts a chip in the old blocks
Sunday 04 April 1993
Into the opening - about the size of a woodworm hole - is hidden a tiny microchip bug which contains the owner's identity code. A decoding scanner is used to read the number, which is then taken to a data base where details of antique and owner are kept.
Collectors hope the device will help police and dealers identify stolen antiques and enable them to return the thousands of items that are never reclaimed each year. The bug, called a passive electronic transponder or PET, can be implanted into furniture, musical instruments, and even non-wooden objects like clocks and statues. The hole is covered after the implant. The value of the antique is not usually affected by the addition of a small hole.
Costing about pounds 30, the 11mm by 2mm bug contains a miniature aerial and a microchip. Radio waves from the scanner set off the chip, which sends out a code.
Its manufacturer, ID-Link, of Ross-on-Wye, hopes the device will be used throughout the country, creating a electronic security network. At the moment only a few thousands of the bugs have been installed. Only agents who have been carefully vetted are given the pounds 600 scanners.
Philip Whyte, owner of a clock and watch shop in London, said: 'The theft of clocks is enormous and one of the main problems is identifying the owner when something is recovered - the electronic bugs can be easily hidden in clock mechanisms so this should be much easier in the future.'
Edward Boyd, furniture specialist at Christie's Fine Art Auctioneers, described the device as a brilliant idea. 'In most furniture there are lots of unimportant bits of wood you could drill into. I don't think many things would suffer.'
Marvel has released the first teaser trailer a week early after it leaked online
- 1 Nokia no more: Microsoft drops once-ubiquitous mobile name – in favour of its Lumia brand
- 2 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 3 Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 Couple die within 28 hours of each other after being married for 73 years
Ottawa shooting: Canadian soldier dies after being shot at National War Memorial – with one gunman killed inside parliament
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
Isis releases first video showing the stoning of woman accused of committing adultery as her father shouts 'don't call me Dad'
Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
Diwali 2014: What is the festival of lights and how is it celebrated around the world?
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
£90 - £140 per day + Mileage and Expenses: Randstad Education Leeds: Sixth for...
£95 - £105 per day: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Plymouth i...
£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits and bonus: Ashdown Group: SQL Developer -...
£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits and bonus: Ashdown Group: SQL Developer ...