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Thief sprayed with invisible dye


Yafet Askale as seen normally and under ultraviolet light (Metropolitan Police)

Yafet Askale as seen normally and under ultraviolet light (Metropolitan Police)

Yafet Askale as seen normally and under ultraviolet light (Metropolitan Police)

A thief who was caught red-handed after his face was turned bright green by a new anti-crime device has been convicted.

Yafet Askale, 28, was sprayed with an invisible dye which can be seen under ultra violet lights when he broke into a police "trap car" in Harlesden, north west London, Scotland Yard said.

Police were alerted that the vehicle had been broken into and traced the culprit who was found in possession of a number of stolen items including a laptop.

Ultra violet lights showed that Askale had been sprayed by the substance and proved he had broken into the car, police said.

Askale, of Harlesden Gardens, Harlesden, denied a charge of theft from a motor vehicle when he appeared at Hendon Magistrates' Court but was convicted following a trial.

He was sentenced on Friday to 49 hours of community work and ordered to pay £400 costs.

Brent Police said they have been working with SmartWater to equip cars and houses with technology to deter thieves from committing crime and catch those that do.

Residents have been provided with free kits to mark valuable property with the substance within their homes which police claim has resulted in an 80% fall in burglary and a 40% reduction in street robbery in the area.

Detective inspector Madeline Ryder, from Brent Police, said: "This is another excellent example of the thorough work completed by Brent officers. Using the trap car technology, we were able to charge Askale and put him before the courts.

"The trap car 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 in Brent. We will continue to target those who are insistent on committing these types of offences.

"Brent Police say very clearly to any would be thieves - don't come to Brent, our trap cars and trap houses are waiting for you."