Business

Gloucester inventor crowdfunding to make anti-theft tech

A Gloucester-based start-up is launching a crowdfunding campaign to manufacture anti-theft technology it hopes will help reunite tradespeople with stolen power tools.

Sentry SL has developed the ‘Smart-Lead’ device, which its creator says can be retrofitted into tools such as drills so that if stolen or mislaid the location can then be traced via GPS tracking on a mobile phone app.

Local businessman and former construction project manager Steve Roberts has also created another model of his invention which can be used to deter the theft of vehicles such as second-hand caravans and campervans.

Additional versions are under development for a wide range of applications including agricultural equipment, jet-skis and electric bikes

The business previously secured six-figure backing from angel investors to fund an engineering team to test and work on the Smart Lead’s tracking technology and develop an online portal to manage the device.

Sentry SL is now looking to raise £50,000 online to manufacture the product, with the Kickstarter campaign to run throughout September.

After 40 years in the construction trade Mr Roberts was inspired to create and design the technology from his experiences of seeing “devastated” colleagues having their equipment stolen and being unable to recover it.

Mr Roberts said it was important the device was affordable as well as effective, and proceeds from the crowdfunding would finance cost-efficient manufacture.

He said: “We want to make it simple for people to protect the things that matter to them, whether it’s the family campervan or the tools needed to earn a living.

“These items are easy to steal, but difficult to recover and the impact of their loss can be really damaging, emotionally and financially. Smart-Lead helps recover stolen items, but we also hope to deter theft.”

The ‘Smart-Lead’ is also designed to prevent stolen tools from being used, Mr Roberts said, with owners able to remotely ‘switch off’ stolen equipment.

He added: “We know the technology works, and that demand is high. The next stage of our journey is all about making sure we can sell the Smart-Lead at a reasonable price.”

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