Co-operative Group Ltd., the U.K.’s fifth largest food retailer and a minority shareholder in The Co-operative Bank, has introduced a program to reduce ATM-related crime.

According to a press release, the Co-op has teamed with forensic technology company SmartWater to roll out a deterrent that links criminals back to the scene of a crime.

SmartWater has adapted its dispersal technology to mark criminals and stolen cash with invisible gel. In a 2016 pilot at 300 Co-op locations, the technology resulted in a 90 percent reduction in ATM crime. It is now being rolled out to cash dispensers at approximately 2,500 Co-op food stores across the country, the release said.

Designed by a former Police officer and his scientist brother, the unique forensic signature increases the risk to criminals of being traced by police and subsequently convicted following an ATM crime.

An invisible amount of gel the size of a speck of dust can incorporate a forensic signature guaranteed to last five years. This signature can aid forensic investigators and police in their work to identify perpetrators of ATM attacks, the release said.

“This technical development represents a serious upgrade in the security of ATMs as SmartWater products have helped convict hundreds of criminals worldwide and retains a 100 percent track record in court,” SmartWater co-founder and CEO Phil Cleary said in the release. “Simply, the ATMs protected by SmartWater now represent too high a risk for criminals and the more professional will give them a wide berth.”

“We welcome any crime prevention initiative such as this that can benefit from our ongoing work with SmartWater and criminals contemplating attacks on Co-op ATMs should take note,” said Iain Raphael, detective chief superintendent and Enfield Borough commander.

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