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Police trial invisible DNA spray to tackle moped thefts and anti-social driving in Cambridge

A cutting-edge tool that helps identify individuals and vehicles involved in theft and anti-social driving is being piloted by police in Cambridge.

SelectaDNA kits are being used by the city’s neighbourhood team as part of a crackdown on nuisance moped riders.

A police officer using SelectaDNA spray
A police officer using SelectaDNA spray

Officers will be able to spray riders who ride dangerously along pavements and footpaths, or individuals suspected to be involved with thefts, as well as the bikes or mopeds they are on.

The invisible DNA spray (which is non-toxic and environmentally safe) will provide officers with evidence to link individuals and vehicles back to a specific incident if the bike and its rider are not able to be stopped at that specific time.

If the bike is later stopped and seized, police are then able to scan it, pinpoint where it was sprayed and identify those who are causing disruption.

The equipment was first used successfully on Friday (November 24) in response to calls reporting attempted thefts of mopeds.

Officers deployed the SelectaDNA spray and later arrested a 16-year-old boy, from Peterborough, in Chesterton on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle and attempted theft of a motor vehicle. A scan of his clothing revealed he had been sprayed earlier in the day. He has since been bailed with conditions not to enter Cambridge.

Sergeant Neil Campbell, from the City East Neighbourhood Team, said: “We understand the considerable disruption that a handful of individuals are causing to the daily lives of residents.

“The integration of SelectaDNA represents a significant stride in our tireless pursuit to prevent vehicle thefts in Cambridge city. The roll out of these kits signifies a progressive approach in convicting offenders and deterring others from offending.”

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