St Albans introduces the water with crimefighting properties

WOULD-BE criminals are being outsmarted by a new crime deterrent being dispersed throughout the St Albans district.

SmartWater is a theft deterrent that uses state-of-the-art forensic technology to protect homes and businesses from criminals and hundreds of homes in St Albans city, Harpenden, Redbourn and Wheathampstead.

Householders and businesses can mark their valuables, whether it’s a laptop, a piece of jewellery or clothing, with the dye-like solution which is invisible under normal lighting conditions.

It is virtually impossible to remove and any trace of the dye will glow bright green under ultra-violet light (pictured).

Because of its unique DNA-style forensic code, which is stored on a secure database together with the owners details, the items can be traced back to the owner and link a criminal to a crime scene.

SmartWater can also be used to spray intruders with an invisible DNA marker and anyone brought into custody in Hatfield will automatically be scanned for traces of it because it remains on clothes and skin for a considerable amount of time.

Inspector Ruth Dodsworth, the Neighbourhood Inspector for St Albans, said: “We are delighted to be working with SmartWater and local residents to help them protect their property and keep burglars at bay.

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“I hope this sends a clear message to would-be criminals – don’t bother, as we will be able to trace you and bring you before the courts.”

The deterrent was launched last week by the St Albans Community Safety Partnership, as part of a strategy to reduce and prevent burglary across the county.

Cllr Chris Oxley, St Albans council’s portfolio holder for community engagement and support, described the introduction of SmartWater as “psychologically reassuring” and praised the partnership for its teamwork.

Criminals sprayed with the dye cannot see it on their body and can leave evidence anywhere they go after they commit the crime – in some cases fingerprints have been lifted from handprints left on walls.

Police across Hertfordshire have been issued with UV lights and briefed to check property for traces of SmartWater.

A limited number of SmartWater systems are available and residents interested should contact their local neighbourhood police team. Individuals or businesses wishing to purchase the deterrent should contact Mark Winchester on 0870 2428899. Members of Neighbourhood Watch are offered the product at a discounted rate.