Barefoot burglar sprayed with UV paint in Ludlow break-in

UV footprints Image copyright West Mercia Police
Image caption UV paint was found inside John Richards boots after he went barefoot during the break in

A barefooted burglar who was sprayed with invisible paint during a break-in was caught when police shone a UV light on his feet and they glowed green.

John Richards was seen on CCTV being doused with the traceable liquid by a security system at a business in Mill Street, Ludlow.

The 39-year-old pleaded guilty to burglary at Shrewsbury Crown Court.

Police said it was the "first success" in an operation using covert technology to tackle burglaries in the area.

Updates on this story and more from Shropshire

Richards was barefoot in a bid to creep around quietly but left footprints in the SmartWater UV paint which was found inside his boots and on a stolen cash box, police said.

Richards, from Dinham, Ludlow, pleaded guilty to burglary, escaping lawful custody and possessing cannabis in court 17 December.

Image copyright West Mercia Police
Image caption John Richards left footprints in UV paint at the scene of the burglary
Image copyright West Mercia Police
Image caption John Richards' foot was covered in UV paint SmartWater after he burgled a business in Ludlow

He was sentenced to eight months imprisonment suspended for 12 months and ordered to do 100 hours community service and pay £900 costs and a £100 victim surcharge.

Det Ch Insp Tom Harding, from West Mercia Police, said: "Responding to a series of burglaries at businesses in Ludlow and the surrounding villages we partnered with SmartWater to protect premises.

"In this case the business had a movement sensitive system installed which sprays the whole room with the liquid.

"When you shine a UV torch on it, it glows bright green."

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