Technique developed to trace sex attackers

Researchers have developed a new technique that is designed to help capture sex offenders who hope to hide their DNA by using condoms.

Scientists at Sheffield Hallam University claim forensic specialists will be able to identify condom lubricant left on fingerprints found at crime scenes.

Dr Simona Francese, from the institution's Biomedical Research Centre, explained that the new procedure is necessary as an increasing number of offenders have taken to using the contraceptive to prevent being linked to an attack.

"If condom lubricant can be detected in finger marks it would improve the evidence for the prosecution by establishing the assailant's presence at the scene and, crucially, having had contact with a condom," she added.

It is hoped that the technique will eventually be able to distinguish between different brands of condoms and thus make profiling easier.

Elsewhere, Robert Blackledge, a senior chemist at the Naval Criminal Investigative Service Regional Forensic Laboratory in San Diego, California, recently commented that fear of being caught combined with increasing awareness of sexually transmitted infections has led to the rise in offenders using condoms.