A 28-year-old man who denied stealing from a car was caught out by an invisible paint trap which caused him to glow green in ultra violet (UV) light.
Yafet Askale was suspected of targeting a “trap car” set up with SmartWater traceable liquid in Harlesden in June.
When he was located, he was found to be in possession of stolen property, including a laptop, and arrested.
Yafet Askale was sprayed with SmartWater traceable liquid which showed up only under UV light
What he didn’t know was that he had activated a spray system when he stole the items from a car, leaving him covered with the invisible substance.
UV light showed Askale's ghastly green glow, thus proving he had broken into the car.
He was charged and pleaded not guilty to theft from motor vehicle at Hendon Magistrates' Court on the 22 July.
Askale was sentenced to a community order of 49 hours and ordered to pay £400 costs
He was convicted at Brent Magistrates’ Court on 27 September and was sentenced to a community order for 49 hours and ordered to pay £400 costs.
Every bottle of SmartWater contains a unique forensic code and can only be seen under UV light.
Detective Inspector Madeline Ryder of Brent Police said: "The trap car forms part of an overall crime reduction strategy designed by SmartWater, which is an effective weapon in the armoury of tools that we routinely use in Brent. We will continue to target those who are insistent on committing these types of offence."
"Brent Police say very clearly to any would be thieves - Don't come to Brent - our trap cars and trap houses are waiting for you."