Page last updated at 15:52 GMT, Tuesday, 5 August 2008 16:52 UK

Advance in bomb print techniques

The US military has expressed an interest in new forensic techniques, developed in the UK, which could find prints on roadside bombs.

Dr John Bond, scientific support manager at Northamptonshire Police, has been developing techniques to find prints on metal including bullets.

It could mean recovered fragments of bombs could be tested for prints left on it while it was manufactured.

Dr Bond said the US had expressed an interest in the techniques.

Northamptonshire Police announced in May that it had joined forces with experts at the University of Leicester Forensic Research Centre to develop the new technique.

Fragments of bombs

Dr Bond said they had found the method worked well on certain metals including brass which is often used for bullet casing.

He said they now thought they could also use it on fragments of bombs to find bombers' prints.

He said: "If you heat metal up the heat encourages the corrosion on the bullet.

"The same could be said for bombs, wherever they may be from.

"We have been contacted by the US military as to its potential to find fingerprints on fragments of explosive devices.

"You could have a fingerprint put on metal of a bomb that goes off.

"The heat is generated that can enhance the corrosion of the metal.

"We have discussed using this technique on recovered fragments of bombs then finding prints of people who have handled the device before it's manufactured.

"In our opinion the science could work just as well on fragments of a bomb as it does on bullets."

He said they had not yet had the opportunity to test the theory but saw no reason why it should not work.

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