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Police in the London borough of Richmond upon Thames have launched a burglary-reduction scheme using DNA to trap light-fingered ne'er-do-wells. Kits will be distributed later this month to allow householders to mark property with synthetic sequences that last for up to 30 years.

The unique DNA stretches are suspended in an adhesive, and can be compared to sequences held in a database when stolen goods are recovered for easy identification. As a backup, the glue also contains spy-style microdots that carry more identifying info.

The SelectaDNA system chosen for the Community Safety Partnership project is one of several vying for a slice of the potentially lucrative market.

Chief Superintendent Ian Edwards explained: “Richmond upon Thames suffers from domestic burglary because it is seen as an affluent area offering rich pickings. Unfortunately our residents sometimes add to the problem with an over relaxed approach to security.” ®

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