A THIEF was caught by police after he broke into a trap car daubed in a traceable substance.

Haifa Mokuba, of Haringey, admitted theft from a motor vehicle on Wednesday last week at Hendon Magistrates’ Court and it was the first conviction using a traceable substance that is being trialed by Brent Police.

Officers in Brent are using SmartWater to mark property and premises.

When handling stolen property or entering a marked premises, perpetrators are covered in the substance which is impossible to wash off and are linked to the crime.

The 29-year-old stole a laptop from a car which was under surveillance on Monday last week.

He was tracked and the following day arrested in Holloway, in possession of the laptop. Police interviewed him and charged him and he admitted the offence.

Detective Sergeant Madeline Ryder said: “We are making full use of the array of technology at our disposal to target and deter thieves. Our message to thieves is ‘Don’t bother coming to Brent, because the traps are waiting for you’.”

Trap cars are one of a number of initiatives in use by Brent Police in its drive to reduce burglary and other theft crimes.

This is the first trap car to be activated in Brent since the initiative began in December 2012, which involves Brent Police partnering with SmartWater within the borough.

Homes and property have been marked in the Harlesden area with SmartWater and there has since been an 86 per cent reduction in burglary and 32 per cent reduction in street robberies. Mokuba was due to be sentenced at Highbury Magistrates’ Court yesterday (Wednesday).