A FIRM producing world-leading anti-terrorism technology has secured more than £12m in funding to expand its activities, ahead of the relaxing of airport security measures.

Kromek, based on the NetPark science park, in Sedgefield, County Durham, has pioneered an airport scanner that can identify liquids in bottles – including explosives, alcohol and narcotics – without opening them, in less than 20 seconds.

It has now secured £12.3m of private investment to expand its activities and extend its facilities.

Loading article content

It comes ahead of EU regulations which should lift the current ban on carrying liquids through airports.

The regulations will require airports to ensure that liquid scanning facilities are in place at EU airports by April next year, as a first step, before the ban is completely lifted and replaced by screening by April 2013.

Dr Arnab Basu, chief executive of Kromek, said: “Kromek is known for security products and we are at the very forefront of scanning liquids and detection of liquid-based threats.

“With the upcoming EU regulation we are expecting a big change in the way passage of liquid operates, and we are in a great position to capitalise on these expected changes.”

Dr Basu, who was named Ernst and Young’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year last October, said the funding came from a mix of corporate and private investors.

He said: “We have got a very supportive industrial and shareholder base who have again shown confidence by investing large sums of money.”

Last year, the scanner was trialled at Newcastle International Airport, although the outcome cannot be revealed for security reasons.

Dr Basu stressed that the company was not only involved in the airport security market, and pointed to its other interests such as 3D medical imaging, infrared imaging for military applications and the use of x-ray imaging for industrial inspection purposes.

He said: “Kromek is more than just a security company. We have a very strong offering in four markets.”

Founded in 2003 and formerly known as Durham Scientific Crystals, Kromek was formed as a spin-off from Durham University’s physics department.

Since then, the company has grown from a two-man operation into an organisation employing nearly 50 people.