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Christmas Operation: Police Use DNA Spray To Catch Shop Burglars

Merseyside Police are using the SelectaDNA Intruder Spray as part of a new operation to mark out burglars targeting shops across Merseyside in the run-up to Christmas.

Police patrols will also be stepped up in shopping areas and security advice offered to staff as officers attempt to combat the annual pre-Christmas rise in shop raids. Other tactics include the use of trackers and fogging devices.

Merseyside Police have launched Operation Catania - a force-wide project set to crack down on offenders looking to make the most of the upcoming festive season.

Specialist tactics include the installation of SelectaDNA security sprays at some premises. If an offender is branded by the spray it will be visible under UV light and make it easier for officers to identify offenders and secure convictions.

The spray is a fine mist containing a unique DNA code traceable to the individual shop. It can be triggered by the offender as they break into premises or can be activated in real time by a staff member while a robbery is taking place. The Spray lasts for weeks on skin and clothing.

Superintendent Jenny Sims said: "Business robberies are not victimless crimes. Many of our convenience stores are run by local people who just want to earn a living and provide for their families.

"The person serving behind the counter could be someone’s mum, sister or grandmother yet these criminals think nothing of pointing a gun or a weapon at them and screaming at them to open the till or safe.

"Some of these people are injured and others will be left permanently traumatised by such an incident."

The launch follows a host of shop robberies and attempted robberies in recent weeks.

Diane Nixon, franchisee at Bargain Booze on West Derby Road in Tuebrook, an area hit by anti-social gangs in recent weeks, backed Operation Catania.

She said: "As a retailer living and working in Merseyside, I know that when a criminal steals from a store it can affect not just the member of staff there at the time, but the rest of the community too. The impact, both emotionally and financially through insurance claims, can last for many months and years after the incident.

"I am committed to making sure all my stores have the best security measures in place to make sure robbers realise as soon as they set foot inside a store that their chances of success are virtually non-existent.

"Thanks to Merseyside Police I have had DNA spray security installed in my shops. Any work to prevent robberies of businesses in Merseyside can only be a good thing."

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