Police use ‘DNA spray’ and stingers in fight to catch moped robbers

PUBLISHED: 15:08 01 November 2017 | UPDATED: 15:08 01 November 2017

A photographer captured the moped crooks in action. Picture: CPS

A photographer captured the moped crooks in action. Picture: CPS


Police are using a special spray to “tag” moped-riding criminals or a stinger device to stop them getting away following a surge in offences across London.

The spray marks the offender with an invisible liquid which is extremely difficult to remove and contains a DNA-style unique code and can be used by officers who arrive during or just after a crime.

Even if the crooks manage to get away the spray can still be used.

Frontline teams have also been kitted out with automatic “stinger” devices that can remotely puncture tyres to stop criminals getting away.

Yesterday the Met disclosed that 400 officers have been trained to use the spray, which has been used for around two months.

The scheme has been financed by money seized from criminals under proceeds of crime measures.

Superintendent Mark Payne, who leads on tackling moped-enabled crime at the Met, said: “It’s a spray officers use to spray offenders with an invisible identifying liquid that is very hard to remove.

“They spray it at the offender at the time the offence is being committed or shortly afterwards. The spray adheres to the offender and the bike.

“We can then attribute the bike and the offender to that particular crime at that particular time and place.

“We’ve installed special UV lights in every custody suite in London so we can detect this type of liquid. It enables us to identify the offender, link the offender to the offence and to the bike.”

In a third tactic, a fleet of new lightweight motorbikes has been rolled out to make police more nimble in their pursuit of suspects, who often use alleyways and narrow streets.

Figures suggest that in the year to September, there were more than 19,385 “moped enabled” crimes in the capital - an average of 53 a day - including thefts and robberies.

Youths even carry out dry runs to practice before launching the raids for real, detectives believe, while it is thought in some cases mobile phones snatched from victim are stolen to order.

Met Police commissioner Cressida Dick said: “I think we are stemming the rise but I want sustained reductions.”

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