A DNA spray is being used by police to catch offenders after they have fled the scene of the crime.

Officers from Merseyside Police aimed the handheld spray at scrambler bikes, mopeds and motorbikes they suspected of being involved in anti-social behaviour or illegal activities. The spray is completely invisible but it marks the bike and the clothing and skin of its rider and any passengers with a unique DNA code.

The police can then look for this DNA code when they arrest suspects to link them to the offence. The SelectaDNA Defence Spray was used in Liverpool as part of Operation Brookdale, a campaign to crack down on people riding scrambler bikes in dangerous way around the city’s streets.

Even a tiny amount of the spray will mark people and objects and is very difficult to remove.

Inspector Tony Byrne of the Dogs and Mounted section of the Merseyside Police said: “The spray means that if you attempt to drive dangerously near to our officers, you are not untouchable. Even a drop of DNA spray will mark riders and their bikes for a long time, and this tactic will undoubtedly lead to more seizures and prosecutions. One spray will put you away.”

New tactic leads to two arrests

The tactic has seen two people arrested in Operation Brookdale and they have now been charged with driving offences.

An office had used the spray to mark two men seen riding a scrambler bike in a dangerous manner in Liverpool’s Croxteth Park area. The area was searched with the help or the National Police Air Service and two men were found and arrested in Prescot.

Once they were arrested and taken into custody, traces of the DNA spray were found on their clothes and skin using a UV light, which led to the men being charged.

This technology is just another way that DNA can be used to solve problems and answer questions. DNA testing is most commonly associated with identifying family relationships, including establishing the paternity of a child.

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