Page last updated at 21:37 GMT, Friday, 19 June 2009 22:37 UK

Google helps net Dutch 'muggers'

Google camera
Google cameras cover several cities in the Netherlands

Police in the Netherlands have arrested two men after a boy they are alleged to have mugged saw a picture of them on Google's internet map service.

The police believe it is the first time the Google Street View application has been used in a Dutch criminal case.

It began last year when the boy, 14, claimed he had been attacked and robbed of 165 euros ($230, £140).

Months later he contacted police again, saying he had seen himself and the alleged assailants in a Google image.

"For us, it is unique," said a police spokesman in Groningen, in the north of the country.

"The picture was taken just a moment before the crime."

Because the faces of the people in the Street View photo were blurred, the police contacted Google, seeking the original image.

The company complied, and the alleged attackers - twin brothers - were arrested.

The Street View function has expanded to cover many towns worldwide, since its launch in 2007.

But it has attracted complaints from a number of individuals and institutions photographed.

The Pentagon in the US, for example, has banned Google from including American military bases.

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