Leiston: High tech SmartWater fluid used to convict high school burglars

POLICE last night hailed the success of a new hi-tech crime fighting device that was used to catch two offenders who broke into a Suffolk school.

SmartWater - a colourless, odourless liquid that forensically links burglars to crime scenes and stolen property - is used throughout Suffolk.

In one of the first cases of its kind in the county it has helped to convict two young men who broke into Leiston High School.

Kadeem Walton, 19, of Long Row, Leiston, was given a 16 week suspended sentence, suspended for 12 months, when he appeared before magistrates in Lowestoft on Tuesday.

He is also subject to a three month curfew order and was ordered to pay costs of �85 and compensation of �100.

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He had previously pleaded guilty to the burglary and to a charge of threatening behaviour following an incident on Boxing Day in Albion Street, Saxmundham.

A 17-year-old boy from the Saxmundham area, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was also given an eight month detention and training order for his role in the Leiston High School burglary, during which nothing was stolen.

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The teenager, who was sentenced on February 2 after pleading guilty, was also given a two-year Anti Social Behaviour Order which will come into effect on his release.

When the offenders broke into the Seaward Avenue school on the night of January 9 they triggered the SmartWater system, which sprayed them with fluid.

The substance – which can only be seen under ultraviolet light and is virtually impossible to remove – bears a unique chemical code.

Scenes of crime officers took face and hand swabs from both offenders and seized their clothing, which tested positive for the chemical code for the kit that had been placed at the school.

Sgt Mark Beresford, of Leiston and Aldeburgh Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT), said: “This is one of Suffolk’s first successful uses of the SmartWater spray system and proves how effective it can be.

“The school had been fitted with the system after several break-ins and this was triggered soon after the offenders broke in.

“Officers had been alerted and police on foot and a dog unit quickly started a pursuit of those responsible.

“They were located, the ultra-violet light shone on them and when they glowed positive for SmartWater they were arrested.”

SmartWater was rolled out in Leiston and Saxmundham last year following problems with a number of troublesome youths.

It has also been used in Lowestoft, the Sudbury and Great Cornard areas and schools in Mid Suffolk.

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