Forensic spray to tackle burglaries

Merseyside Police officers
Merseyside Police officers

Police are using forensic spray in a bid to tackle burglaries in St Helens.

Officers are visiting residents to encourage them to use property marking kits on valuable items as well as helping some households mark their property.

The spray contains an individual DNA code, enabling police to link a burglar to the stolen items or targeted property. It can also help in reuniting victims with their goods if they are recovered.

St Helens Community Safety Partnership and Merseyside Police have funded the latest forensic marking scheme.

Coun Lisa Preston, St Helens Council’s cabinet member for community safety, said: “We’re eager to introduce this new technology to the borough for the safety and security of our residents.

“Falling victim to a burglary is an incredibly distressing experience and it’s often the emotional impact, rather than the financial one, that is the most damaging.

“We hope that the traceable liquids will act as a deterrent and that, if the worst should happen, more people will receive justice and see their valuables returned to them.”

Merseyside Police’s integrated offender management team will also be cracking down on known criminals.

Acting sergeant Stephen Mercer, who is leading the initiative, said: “Burglary is a priority for us and we are keen to exploit every avenue that could help us solve this kind of crime, as well as helping to better support victims in their hour of need.

“DNA property marking will be used where there is a known problem in a bid to prevent residents or businesses being targeted.

“This approach should have a beneficial impact, in helping to reassure vulnerable people and acting as a deterrent to would-be offenders, while helping us with identification of recovered stolen property and prosecuting offenders.

“It is not only ideal for homes at risk but also premises such as churches and schools that are often vulnerable to burglary.”

Police officers will routinely search for items marked with forensic DNA spray when undertaking house searches.

UV lights to detect the traceable liquid will be used when people suspected of burglary are taken into police custody to determine if they are linked to recently-reported offences.