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    Liverpool shops given unwashable spray to deter shoplifters

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    A “DNA marking spray” that cannot be washed off is being given to some selected shopkeepers in Merseyside to tackle shoplifters, stated a recent report.

    The sprays, which have a unique code that shows up under UV light, have been issued by Merseyside Police.

    Merseyside Police and Police Crime Commissioner (PCC) Emily Spurrell said she hoped the scheme would work as a “deterrent” to potential thieves.

    “It’s about how we can prevent shoplifting from happening and also support our frontline staff and security staff,” she told BBC. “Unfortunately we have seen incidents where there has been violence and abuse against staff in retail shops so we wanted to try and prevent that from happening,” she said.

    Spurrell said the spray, which can remain on skin for several weeks, was harmless and gave officers “physical evidence” to connect a person to a crime and increase the chance of a successful conviction in court.

    She said the move to equip shopkeepers with the sprays was “a clear message” to potential thieves.

    The sprays, which can be used from a distances of 16.4ft (5m), can only be used by specially-trained security guards and staff. Funded by PCC, over 100 Selecta DNA spray kits have been given to retail businesses in Liverpool as part a wider group of initiatives to support businesses from crime.

    Merseyside Police Sgt Craig Winstanley said the sprays, which have previously been used by the force in a crackdown on anti-social off road motorbikes, were “a great tool”.

    “By giving us the opportunity to forensically link somebody to a particular crime will hopefully enhance our opportunities to get a positive outcome,” he said.

    “Unique DNA coding can be used along with other investigative lines of enquiry such as CCTV and witness statements to help achieve the evidential threshold to put people before the courts”, Winstanley told BBC.

    The pilot has been launched as part of Merseyside Police’s Safer Business Action Day. Other schemes include the rollout of a QR code reporting system to help police identify shoplifting hotspots.

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