Houses and flats have been rigged up with surveillance equipment in a bid to snare burglars operating in Sheffield.
The operation is aimed at tackling rising burglary levels in the city, particularly in student accommodation.
It involves houses and flats being fitted with state-of-the-art cameras and SmartWater traps to stain offenders with a substance which is invisible to the naked eye but which shines up under specialist lights.
Each batch used in each property has its own unique DNA style code, helping to link offenders to break-ins.
Police officers have teamed up with housing providers and landlords to install the equipment.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Wilson said: “We are launching this initiative because we have started to see the number of reported burglaries of premises occupied by students to start to creep up.
“Many of these burglaries are as a result of insecure ground floor windows or doors, being left unlocked or even open, with valuables and technology left in plain sight.
“This includes games consoles, laptops and mobile phones.
“As the summer months approach, we typically expect the number of burglaries across South Yorkshire to increase with people leaving windows and doors insecure, I would urge people however to take more care of their possessions and to secure their properties.
“We want to send out a clear message to burglars that we are taking a no-nonsense approach and that if you break into a property, you run the risk of it being one of our traps and that we are going to catch you.”
Similar operations using ‘sting’ properties and vehicles have been carried out successfully across the region in the past.
DCI Wilson continued: “We’re as discreet as possible when setting up our ‘sting’ properties as we don’t want to alarm the local community nor alert criminals to what we’re doing. We have been able to catch criminals red-handed in the past and I hope to achieve positive results this time also.
“Burglary is a serious crime, one that can have a massive impact on victims, and offenders need to understand we will make use of whatever tactics we can to catch them and put them before the courts.”
Anyone with information on those involved in burglaries should call South Yorkshire Police on 101.