DNA ‘Tagging’ Spray Convicts Nuisance Riders
A teenager has become the latest person to be convicted following the use of a new DNA ‘tagging’ spray against moped criminals and nuisance off road riders being deployed by police forces across the UK.
Connor Walker, 18, from South Elmsall, was found guilty and sentenced to 15 months in prison (suspended for 18 months) and a curfew after being identified, arrested and charged in West Yorkshire Police’s first use of the high tech SelectaDNA spray.
Walker, and the vehicle he was riding, were marked with the spray (every canister of which contains a unique chemical signature), indisputably linking him to the offence, which took place in Pontefract on 28th May. He was later arrested at his home and, when checked with a UV lamp, officers found a tagging agent on his hand and clothing matching the canister he was sprayed from, proving he was on the vehicle. He was sentenced for two offences of dangerous driving and driving without a licence.
Merseyside Police have previously secured two convictions for anti-social behaviour and dangerous driving using the same SelectaDNA spray technology. The spray is also being used by West Midlands Police, Cheshire Constabulary and Surrey Police. A recent day of action using DNA spray to identify scooter and vehicle crime offenders led to five arrests and 40 stop checks in north Surrey.
Officers are now warning riders they have the tools to indisputably link them to the vehicles they offend on after using the DNA spray. West Yorkshire Police have seen an impressive 32% reduction in off road crime in areas that the spray project has been piloted in since the summer.
Inspector Paul Sullivan of the Wakefield East NPT area, said: "We are very conscious of the impact of anti-social off road riding on our communities in Pontefract, Castleford and South East areas.
"As a result we have acquired and been trialling a new DNA spray to 'tag' offenders in the act. It is a harmless, odourless and invisible solution, naked to the eye and is proving invaluable in helping us solve the problem of identifying offenders.”
Following the first conviction to come from the use of the spray in West Yorkshire, Insp Sullivan said: "By spraying the riders and the vehicle they are on while they are offending, our officers effectively 'tie' them to the offence, proving beyond doubt that they were the person filmed offending.”
“We are delighted to have achieved our first positive result in court and hope Walker's conviction demonstrates to anyone involved in this type of behaviour that no matter if you wear a headscarf, helmet or balaclava, your anonymity can’t be guaranteed.”
Chief Superintendent Mabs Hussain, District Commander of Wakefield Police, said: "Clearly the successful trial of this innovative new DNA spray is welcome news. We are examining widening deployment of this new tool across the District and I can promise those who we catch in the act that they will be identified.”
For further information and images contact: Angela Singleton, Press Officer for Selectamark.
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