A UNIQUE tagging spray is being used to help police tackle the illegal use of off-road bikes thanks to cash recovered from criminals.

Proceeds of Crime Act funding, which is money gained by criminals through illegal activity, will be used to purchase SelectaDNA spray.

It can sprayed on offenders who refuse to stop for police, marking the bikes, clothing and skin of riders with an invisible, uniquely coded DNA solution that can provide forensic evidence to link them to a specific crime.

The spray shows up under special UV lights and stays in place for a number of weeks, even after washing.

Darlington Neighbourhood Inspector Chris Knox said: “We continue to work hard to address the issue of illegal off-road bikes.

“The spray is just one of a number of methods we are using, including drones, use of off-road motorcycles and plain clothed officers.

“We take this issue very seriously and we know, despite the situation improving, it still concerns our community. We believe this spray will help reduce the problem further.

“We have to remind people we cannot pursue off-road bikers because it could be a danger to the public and also the officers involved.”

Anyone with any information on those who ride off-road bikes illegally should email opendurance@durham.pnn.police.uk

Alternatively, information can be passed on to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800-555-111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org