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Thief jailed after being caught in SmartWater trap car ‘sting’

Secured by Design (SBD) member company SmartWater Technology Limited have had another notable crime fighting success, assisting the Metropolitan Police Service in the jailing of a thief after he was sprayed with SmartWater while stealing property from a police 'sting vehicle'.

The thief, 28-year-old Jonathan Henry of no fixed address, was sentenced to a total of 19-and-a-half months' imprisonment at Harrow Crown Court on 17 July after pleading guilty to six counts of motor vehicle interference, one count of theft from a motor vehicle, five counts of theft from a shop, possession of a knife and refusing to provide a sample for a Class A drug test in custody.

Over a three month period, the Crime Reduction Team in Barnet used a specifically designed 'sting' vehicle at various locations across the borough. Working in partnership with SmartWater, the team left items of SmartWater marked technology within the vehicle.

In response to a spate of thefts from vehicles in Colindale the team deployed the vehicle in Silkstream Road.

On Sunday, 13 May at: 08:42hrs a motion alarm was activated on a tablet that had been left inside a handbag on the front passenger seat.

Police tracked the tablet through Silkstream Park using an app supplied by SmartWater. The tablet was eventually found at an address on the Grahame Park Estate, NW9. The occupant of the address had purchased the tablet from a man matching Henry's description.

Henry was arrested on Thursday, 14 June after an off-duty police officer spotted him on Booth Road in Colindale trying car door handles.

On Friday, 15 June, Henry was charged and remanded into custody to appear at Willesden Magistrates' Court the following day.

PC Marcus Hanvey, from Barnet's Crime Reduction Unit, said: "This is another excellent example of the thorough work completed by officers in Barnet. By using the sting vehicle technology, we were able to charge Henry and put him before the courts.

"The technology forms part of an overall crime reduction strategy designed by SmartWater, which is an effective weapon in the armoury of tools that we routinely use on the borough. We will continue to target those who are insistent on committing these types of offence."

SmartWater Chief Executive, Phil Cleary, said: “Our specialist team work in partnership with police on ‘sting’ operations like this throughout the UK, to create fear within criminal fraternity of the SmartWater brand.

“SmartWater’s operational strategy goes beyond simply returning stolen property to owners, as our proven track record as a deterrent stops property being stolen in the first place”.

To help combat burglary and theft, the Met is running a 'MetTrace', using the SmartWater technology. The Met’s advice is to consider protecting your own valuables with SmartWater, an almost invisible liquid that glows yellowy-green under an ultra-violet light and every bottle has a unique forensic signature.

This means if the police recover a stolen item that has been marked with SmartWater, such as a tablet, it can be analysed to identify the address where the SmartWater is registered and return the tablet to its rightful owner.

SmartWater can be used to invisibly tag all of your valuable items, from watches and jewellery to laptops and mobile phones.

To find out more about the Met's MetTrace project and SmartWater, visit:

Secured by Design: Secured by Design, the national police crime prevention initiative, aim to achieve sustainable reductions in crime through design and other approaches to enable people to live in a safer society.

We work in partnership with National and Local Government, British and European standards authorities, trade associations, the construction industry, manufacturers and many other organisations to reduce crime and the fear of crime by incorporating proven crime prevention techniques into the built environment.

We have more than 200 SBD trained police officers and staff in Police Forces around the UK. These Designing Out Crime Officers work with architects, developers and local authority planners to build in tried, tested and proven crime prevention techniques at the planning stage to reduce crime and keep communities safe.

SBD seeks to reduce crime by combining minimum standards of physical security like doors, windows and locks that achieve SBD’s Police Preferred Specification standard and proven design principles of the built environment such as natural surveillance and defensible space.

Whilst police are unable to recommend specific products, SBD can act as an effective gatekeeper and signposting service to our 650 member companies and their products, which meet our rigorous Police Preferred Specification standards.

Members’ products range from secure and robust doors, windows and locks through to cutting-edge IT products, CCTV components, and shutters and barriers. SBD is the only way for companies to obtain police accreditation for security products in the UK.

Tel: 0203 8623 999