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Last Updated: Saturday, 21 May, 2005, 08:13 GMT 09:13 UK
DNA powder to help catch burglars
Nick Bradley, of Xenos, Liz Williams and Nick Basford, of Redweb
Inventor Liz Williams won an innovation award for her creation
Burglars may find it much harder to escape the long arm of the law following the launch of a new device which sprays intruders with DNA.

The biosynthetic "i-powder", produced by Denbighshire-based Redweb Security, carries a unique, traceable code which is registered to the device's owner.

The DNA lasts several weeks, providing forensic evidence to help conviction.

The company said it hopes the product, believed to be the first of its kind, will help reduce crime.

It gives police sufficient indication that they are the individual that was at the scene of the crime
Redweb chairman Clive Smith

The system, called Sentry, works by fitting a box containing a powder spray above a doorway which, once primed, goes into alert mode if the door is opened.

It then sprays the powder when there is movement in the doorway again.

The aim is to catch a burglar in the act as stolen items are being removed.

The intruder is covered in the bright red powder, which glows under ultraviolet (UV) light and can only be removed with heavy scrubbing.

However, the harmless synthetic DNA contained in the powder sinks into the skin and takes several days, depending on the person's metabolism, to work its way out.

Redweb chairman Clive Smith said the powder could help in crime detection because burglars would be seen covered in red powder or because police could test suspects by using UV lights or by taking a swab to collect the synthetic DNA.

"Criminals might think they have cleaned themselves up and feel totally clean," he added.

Burglar opening door through smashed window (generic)
The company hopes to use i-powder to protect homes and children

"But if police are interviewing a known suspect, they can either eliminate them or further question them.

"It gives police sufficient indication that they are the individual that was at the scene of the crime."

The Sentry was created from an original idea by Denbighshire mother Liz Williams, who wanted to invent a device to protect children from attackers.

She has won a Female Inventor of the Year award for the system, which Redweb claims is the first of its kind.

Mr Smith said: "Our whole dream is we will have a major effect on the reduction in crime by giving police ammunition to do their job effectively, and become a benefit to the community."

Redweb has launched the Sentry for business use with funding from Finance Wales, a subsidiary of the Welsh Development Agency.

It hopes to produce versions for home and personal use in the future.

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12 Oct 02 |  Wales

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