Locks and Security News: your weekly locks and security industry newsletter
12th February 2020 Issue no. 494
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Cash theft gang jailed for a combined 19 years
The positive identification of SmartWater marked clothing has aided the prosecution of three men who have been jailed for a total of 19 years after a G4S courier was held up outside a Blockbuster Video store in Surrey.
Nicholas Leacock (35), of Egmont Street, New Cross, and Marvin Samuels (28), of Woodside Green, South Norwood, robbed security guard, Ian Strachan, before jumping into a getaway car and fleeing the scene at high speed. The pair drove to an address in Croydon where they paid accomplice, Paul Tucker (36), of Headley Drive, New Addington, £100 to open the stolen cash box with an angle grinder.
A tracking device in the cash box led police straight to the gang, where they found £370 in cash, industrial cutting equipment and clothing all marked with purple dye containing a SmartWater forensic signature. The SmartWater system activated when the gang forced open the cash box.
Under police interview Leacock and Samuels made no comment, but their clothing was seized and sent to SmartWater's forensic laboratories where scientists positively identified traces of purple dye laced with SmartWater and linked it with the stolen cash box. This evidence was upheld in court and used to help link the pair with the robbery.
Leacock and Samuels were jailed for nine years each after pleading guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit robbery. Tucker, who had entered a not guilty plea to money laundering, was found guilty by a jury and sentenced to one year in prison.
Detective Sergeant Penny Goodale, who led the investigation, said: "I welcome the lengthy sentences for this group of dangerous professional criminals. This was a planned and organised robbery where the offenders were quite prepared to threaten the cash delivery driver and put other members of the public at risk to get what they wanted."
SmartWater's forensic technology is deployed tactically by police forces and other organisations in a variety of scenarios throughout the UK. The use of SmartWater evidence has resulted in more than 1,000 successful prosecutions where it has been introduced in court proceedings.
Chief executive of SmartWater Technology Ltd, Phil Cleary, said: "When independent academic research was carried out, convicted criminals themselves told the researchers that they considered SmartWater "bad for business". That message obviously hadn't reached these individuals like it has many others, but their case is a clear warning to thieves and robbers that if they try to take SmartWater-marked property they are at serious risk of going to prison."
Picture shows: (Left to right) Nicholas Leacock, Marvin Samuels and Paul Tucker.
23rd January 2013