A Staffordshire mother-of-two has been named Female Inventor of the Year at a ceremony in London for her crime-fighting idea.
Deb Leary, 42, from Tamworth, has designed lightweight stepping plates for use by investigators at crimes.
The plates allow police and forensic teams to make their way through the scene without disturbing vital clues.
Mrs Leary came up with the idea while attending a conference with policeman husband Richard, 48, in 2001.
Police had used solid aluminium plates in the past which are heavy to move to allow photographs to be taken of what's underneath.
It took her just two years to produce and sell the first of her plastic plates, even though she had no previous experience of business or manufacturing.
"The only barriers are the barriers that you create yourself", Mrs Leary said.
"If you have an idea and the belief in it, do your level best to carry it through.
"There were times when I sat at home in tears, tearing my hair out, but you have to trust your own abilities."
Mrs Leary, who has a son aged 21 and a 17-year-old daughter, was named winner at the British Female Inventors and Innovators Awards in London on Wednesday evening.
Among the ideas which narrowly missed out were an inflatable travel cot, designed by Jo Bradford, from Telford, Shropshire.
There were eight runners-up in the competition, organised by the Global Women Inventors and Innovators Network.