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Banknote Watch Trust
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A robber who attacked a cash delivery courier outside a Manchester hotel has been sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison after he was arrested with SmartWater staining on his clothes.
Michael McKeown from Audenshaw, Greater Manchester, stole a cashbox containing £8,000 from a G4S courier outside the Village Hotel in Hyde in July 2011. McKeown, who wore a mask during the raid, kicked the courier to the ground and made off with the cashbox, escaping in a blue Landrover Freelander.
Police arrived at the scene and within an hour had recovered the abandoned Landrover, which had been fitted with false plates, and the emptied cashbox. Using Automatic Number Place Recognition (ANPR) technology police quickly established the Landrover had been stolen during a burglary two days previous. Police intelligence linked the burglary to silver Renault Clio that was known to be used by McKeown.
McKeown, who was on licence for robbery at the time, was stopped by officers driving the silver Clio approximately two hours later. He was arrested and his clothing seized after traces of purple dye, believed to be from the stolen cashbox, were found on an Adidas jacket he was wearing at the time. The jacket and dye stained banknotes found on McKeown were subsequently sent for forensic analysis. The dye was positively identified as coming from the same cashbox stolen outside the Village Hotel.
Detective Inspector Dave Moores, from Tameside CID, said: "McKeown's arrest was the result of some fantastic teamwork by officers from the ANPR team and Tameside CID, so much so that McKeown had not even had a chance to change his clothes when we caught up with him. Because of the speed of that arrest, we were able to swab the clothing he was wearing during the robbery and match it to the unique code within the SmartWater ink - which is a great tool for ensuring criminals cannot benefit when they commit cash-in-transit robberies.
"As a result, the evidence was overwhelming and McKeown had no choice but to admit his guilt. Thanks to this teamwork and the speed of our response, what this means in real terms is a very serious and determined robber is now off the streets and behind bars where he can no longer intimidate and steal from delivery drivers who are simply going about their business.”