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Violent criminals convicted with help of Smartwater evidence

SmartWater Technology Limited : 14 August, 2015  (Application Story)
Smartwater forensic trace evidence on shoes belonging to a suspect helped lead to the capture of three violent criminals in the UK
Violent criminals convicted with help of Smartwater evidence

SmartWater evidence has aided West Midlands Police in the capture and conviction of three men who targeted cash-in-transit couriers in Birmingham to fund a lavish lifestyle of designer clothes and champagne parties. Following a 12 month police investigation the gang has this week been jailed for a combined 35 years.

Emmanuel Koryang (22), Peter White (25), and 19-year-old Lance Cotterell carried out a month-long crime spree in 2014, attacking lone cash-in-transit couriers on four separate occasions in order to steal cashboxes. The gang committed their most violent robbery at a pub in Edgbaston, where they shot a barman with a taser and threatened to ignite spirits thrown over a customer.

Emmanuel Koryang - a man with a history of robbery offences – was quickly identified as a key suspect and arrested by West Midlands Police detectives. A search of his clothing revealed traces of SmartWater on a pair of trainers. This was subsequently analysed and identified as having come from the cashbox stolen during the gang’s first robbery on Broad Street in central Birmingham. Cotterell and White were arrested in the following months.

An angle grinder found in a stolen Seat Leon the trio used as a getaway car was also recovered and found to be marked with SmartWater. Analysis by SmartWater scientists revealed two individual forensic codes from different cashboxes, directly linking the gang to multiple violent robberies.

Cashboxes used by cash-in-transit couriers such as G4S are all fitted with security dye systems containing a unique SmartWater forensic code. If forcibly opened the banknotes inside the box are doused in the dye, which helps the police to identify them as stolen. The dye will also transfer onto skin, clothing and any tools used by offenders. The SmartWater code can be analysed and traced back to a specific cashbox, meaning criminals can be linked with the scene of their crime.

Koryang, White and Cotterell all denied conspiracy to rob but were found guilty following a four week trial at Birmingham Crown Court. Koryang and White were each given 12 year sentences while getaway driver Cotterell was handed an 11 year jail term.

Detective Inspector Ben West from West Midlands Police said: “The men spent their loot as soon as they got it on designer clothes and travelling the country on big nights out. CCTV footage from a club in Newcastle shows them throwing thousands of pounds around and splashing out on bottles of expensive vodka.

“It’s clear from the level of violence used in the final robbery that they were prepared to stop at nothing in order to get what they wanted and when faced with anything more than a lone van driver, their brutality escalated.”

SmartWater Chief Executive Phil Cleary, said: “The lengthy sentences of these three men reflect the serious nature of the crimes they committed. We are very pleased to have been able to assist the exemplary work of West Midlands Police Force in bringing these men to justice.”

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