TWO persistent criminal offenders have been convicted of theft from motor vehicles in Lancashire following the use of SelectaDNA Gel - a new transferable forensic gel - in police 'bait' cars.
Lancashire Police's Wyre Target Team, led by Sergeant Steve Bell, has been using a variety of measures to target known thieves in the area with the aim of reducing and detecting vehicle crime offences.
The team's main tactic has been the use of bait cars, which appear completely normal to the untrained eye, but contain hidden cameras which capture images of the thief in action. This footage can later be used as evidence in Court.
A number of bait cars are being deployed in the Wyre area and valuable items within them have been smeared with the latest SelectaDNA Gel, which contains a unique DNA code. Once the thief comes into contact with the clear gel, it transfers onto their hands and clothing. The criminal is then irrefutably linked to the crime scene.
After breaking into a bait car, Colin Gibson from Fleetwood, Lancashire, was arrested and convicted of stealing a satellite navigation system and was given 10 weeks in prison. Stephen Holden, also from Fleetwood, was caught stealing a laptop and got a five month sentence. Both criminals were caught on camera and the footage was made available for viewing in Court.
PC Knights said: “The use of bait vehicles has been a great success and has been directly attributed to the arrest and conviction of several prolific and persistent offenders. We know who is committing crime and this tactic provides the court with overwhelming evidence. To date, all suspects have pleaded guilty at their first appearance at court. This reduces the need for unnecessary court appearances and ensures swift entry into the criminal justice system.”
With two million vehicle-related thefts in the UK every year and sat nav theft continuing to rise, drivers are being urged to take simple precautions when parking their cars. Sergeant Steve Bell said: “Please think before you leave valuables unattended in your car. Always remove your satellite navigation system and its cradle from the car and ensure any tell tale 'sucker' marks are wiped off the windscreen.”
For further information and images contact: Angela Singleton, Press Officer for Selectamark.
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