Undercover Thieves: Anti-counterfeiting News and Insights

What UK cash-in-transit thieves never bargained for

Unknowingly, Colin McCash began his acquaintance with crime-fighting DNA as Christmas approached in 2008.  The relationship ended last month in a British courtroom and a sentence of fifteen years of jail time.  

A gang leader with a record, McCash awakened two of his gang members early on December 11,  two years ago, handing them pistols.  By 7 AM the two armed thugs were recorded on CCTV at a bus stop year in Blackburn, Lancashire in the north west of England,  as two security guards got set to re-fill an ATM.  Hiding their faces behind ski masks, according to the BBC,they attacked one of the guards, Imran Aslam,  unarmed per British law.  Despite the fact that Aslam handed over cash, they coldly shot him down, then escaped on bicycles.


From front page: CCTV footage of the shooting of Imran Aslam


Scrub as they might

But opening the strong box did not go as smoothly.  When forced, the box worked as designed, saturating  the bills with our Signature DNA dye, instantly covering £20,000 worth of notes in all.  Later when McCash tried to pass off the stained notes, Lacashire police were alerted and sent samples to Applied’s  UK laboratory.  Within minutes, the bills were traced to the stolen cash box.  The notes had been washed several times.  But the DNA remained, and will stain those bills for three hundred and fifty years.  A fascinating case study of the technology appears on this site.

This Christmas, two years almost to the day of the Blackburn shooting, the Lacashire and regional police and other agencies, again armed with Applied DNA Sciences technology, are preparing  for an even bigger and more coordinated push to hand out holiday gifts of jail time to CIT thieves.

Botanical crime fighter

It caps a year in which something very interesting in going on in that English region.   On the one hand, nowhere in the world are Cash in Transit Service robberies more common than in the United Kingdom:  fully 75% of all such thefts in the European Union occur in that country, some with terrible consequences

But astonishingly, in the region of Lancashire and its surrounding counties, Cash in Transit Services robberies are down 80% in just this past year.   Convictions of fifteen offenders have totaled 180 years of jail time.  

Signature DNA

No small part of the success of the law enforcement arsenal here--crystal clear in the Blackburn robbery and convictions--has been Applied DNA Sciences’ botanical Signature DNA product.   Indeed, in October, we shared, with the Lancashire Constabulary, the coveted Excellence in Policing award for success against cash in transit Services crime.  The DNA authentication code is unbreakable and non-removable.  It has, as one UK police official acknowledged, “challenged the traditional way the police do their business..

We’ll let you know how this year's Christmas anti-theft campaign goes.  We suspect that plenty of cash in transit thieves will soon have more knowledge of microbiology than they ever wanted.

For more on Applied DNA Cash in Transit taggants and law enforcement programs:

Cash-In-Transit FAQ
Cash-In-Transit Endorsements
Cash-in-Transit Case Study