Exploding Laptops to Fight Vehicle Crime

New technology to be used in 'bait cars' around the borough

Exploding laptops and smoke breathing sat navs are the latest weapon in the battle against car crime in Hammersmith and Fulham.

In a first for Europe local car crooks are being caught red-handed in a series of stings involving laptops and other electrical goods which explode with bright red smoke when they are moved.

The joint action by the Met Police and H&F Council involves officers leaving phoney laptops and other electrical equipment on show in unmarked ‘bait’ cars.

The electrical equipment includes sat navs, laptops and ipods which blow up when they are moved leaving the criminals disorientated and covered in bright red smoke and dye.

Cllr Greg Smith, said, “Criminals who think they can simply help themselves when they see property on the back seat of a car are getting a rude awakening. I want every criminal to know that if they break into someone’s car locally there is a very good chance they will be caught red handed and be covered in bright red dye as proof off their crimes.”

The indelible smoke has its own unique DNA and is traceable on the criminal even after months of washing off. The smoke is even transferred onto the electrical equipment meaning middle men and fences handling stolen goods pay for their crimes as well as the original thief.

DCI Geoff Smith, who is heading the operation for the Met Police, said, “We are using a wide range of tactics to deal with car crime locally. Electronic goods, cash, mobile phones and bags left in vehicles, even for a short time, are tempting targets for thieves. To help us remove thieves from the streets, we are deploying a number of sting vehicles across Hammersmith & Fulham.”

The technology, created by 3SI security systems, has been used widely in America and by security guards transporting cash in Britain but never in sting operations against car criminals. 7,122 convictions have been gained worldwide and more than £5million worth in assets recovered as a result of the system.

Cllr Smith concluded, “We are putting the fear back into criminals with our innovative use of this groundbreaking technology.”


September 7, 2007 11:17 AM