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An invisible way to trace criminals

PUBLISHED: 09:11 10 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:35 03 July 2010

Burglars were warned yesterday they "can't get away with it" after police in Broadland revealed their latest tool to catch light-fingered visitors.

"Invisible blood", a solution containing a unique serial number, is being given to victims in the area to help deter criminals, catch culprits and trace stolen property.

Burglars were warned yesterday they “can't get away with it” after police in Broadland revealed their latest tool to catch light-fingered visitors.

“Invisible blood”, a solution containing a unique serial number, is being given to victims in the area to help deter criminals, catch culprits and trace stolen property.

The clear liquid, called Selecta DNA, can be painted onto valuable items and, when an ultra-violet light is shone on them, glows to show they have been marked.

Created from a vegetable-based DNA strand, each household's solution is different and property can be traced back to the home it was taken from.

Sergeant Jeff Gover, from Hellesdon's safer neighbourhood team, said the £22,000 scheme, funded by Broadland District Council, would make criminals think twice about visiting those houses. He said: “As a burglar, you want to be in and out really quickly. You don't want to be checking whether it's marked or not.”

About 750 kits have already been handed out to homeowners who have been burgled in the past to stop them becoming repeat victims, and more is being issued.

Each vial, with its own unique code, can mark about 150 items.

The system is already used in parts of King's Lynn and Great Yarmouth and Sgt Gover said, if it proved successful, it could soon be rolled out across the county.

He said: “Watch this space. We're hoping it will have good results on crime prevention and it won't be long before the whole of Norfolk will be using the product.”

Yesterday, police visited a recent burglary victim to hand over the liquid and help mark his property including laptops, cameras and farm equipment.

The 50-year-old, who did not want to be named, said he had been targeted twice. He said: “I had nightmares. I dreamt about coming home and finding the place ransacked. With this DNA, there's a sticker you can put in your window. Anyone stealing a camera can see it's been DNA'd - hopefully it will put them off stealing.”

As well as the property-marking kits, homeowners can also get hold of a spray - which covers the intruder as soon as they enter the house - and a DNA grease which rubs off on to the burglar.

All safer neighbourhood teams, response cars and police stations in Broadland have been equipped with ultra-violet lights to enable them to check for the solution as a matter of course.

Sgt Gover said: “He's committed the crime, he can't get away with it.”

For more information about Selecta DNA, contact your safer neighbourhood team on 0845 456 4567.

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