STICKY-FINGERED thieves will find themselves caught out thanks to a new hi-tech glue protecting property in Govanhill.

Police are today launching a major new operation to crack down on crime in the area.

Residents in the community are being told they will see a dramatic increase in the number of officers on the streets over the next two weeks.

Senior police officers want Operation Kapal to tackle the high rates of housebreaking.

The crime, previous dubbed an "infectious" problem by a senior officer, is the most prominent in Govanhill.

Officers will be targetting houses in certain streets in the area to give residents DNA kits that will mark their property with a unique code and protect it from theft.

The same scheme carried out in an area of England saw break-ins dramatically reduced.

Glasgow Times: Police in GovanhillPolice in Govanhill

Inspector John Menzies is leading the operation. He said: "Govanhill has got issues in relation to housebreaking and acquisitive crime and has done for a few years.

"We try as much as we can to impact on that but we do have some difficulties in relation to it.

"SelectaDNA has been used down south and has seen housebreaking reduced significantly so we know it is effective."

Working in four streets in the centre of Govanhill, officers will make sure every property is visited, working over day shifts and back shifts.

The community has speakers of 63 different languages so police have asked Govanhill Housing Association for support with translators.

SelectaDNA is a type of glue - which is vegan friendly - laced with microscopic barcodes called microdots that are unique to each bottle.

It is used to mark property, such as tablets, mobile phones or laptops, and then the number is recorded in a database so the items can be easily traced back to their owner.

The glue shows up under fluorescent light and a microscope is used to see the numbers on the microdots.

Sergeant Cennydd Smith of Gorbals Police Office is responsible for the SelectaDNA operation, which is being part-funded by cash from the Southside Central Area Partnership.

Hundreds of kits will be handed out in Govanhill with one small bottle able to mark 50 items.

Glasgow Times: SelectaDNA SelectaDNA

Mr Smith said: "The previous marking kits that have come out involved taking a scraping of it, sending it away to the lab and waiting weeks for results to find out who the property belonged to.

"This has a unique code in it so when you look under the microscope you can see it.

"We can then go on the database and see straight away who it belongs to."

The kits also come with a sticker that can be attached to property, which would alert a pawnbroker or second hand buyer that the item was marked.

Mr Smith added: "During the operation we'll go into the house, explain the product, mark up the property and we'll register it for the householder as well.

"In the past there's been problems where you give the folk the kit but they don't register it, so we'll do that for them and that's part of the engagement project, it will help us in speaking to people, learning things."

Police have worked with Glasgow City Council and Govanhill Housing Association to identify the most vulnerable streets in the area.

Stickers will be placed in closes to alert would-be housebreakers to the fact SelectaDNA is being used as a deterrent.

Messages will also be shared by video on Facebook for Roma communities who don't read in English.

Mr Menzies added: "In Govanhill it's slightly different to how other break ins would happen conventionally - here, close doors have maybe been insecure or have been wedged open.

"And then they are getting into the house just by forcing the door, by using bodily pressure.

"So it's not a sophisticated housebreaking and it happens quite regularly, unfortunately."

Glasgow Times: SelectaDNA warningSelectaDNA warning

A second phase of Operation Kapal will be used to target known criminals in the area.

Mr Menzies said: "We will also make our criminals aware we are doing this.

"We plan to visit some of our active criminals and tell them we are doing this and tell them that if they commit criminality they will be caught."

Holyrood Secondary School's campus police officers will also be giving sessions to pupils about the DNA glue so they can feed this back to their parents.

The operation will also involve officers visiting licensed premises, pawnshops and second hand dealers to explain where Select DNA will be used.

Police also plan pro-active work to recover any stolen property that comes to light during the operation with warrants being executed.

Officers on patrol will be joined by youth diversionary officers to speak to young people congregating in the community and signpost them to other activities and clubs.

Throughout the two weeks the mobile police unit will be on either Annette Street or Allison Street for locals to report any issues and there will be drop-in session at community hubs such as Govanhill Library and local cafes.

Mr Menzies said: "We are trying to build a culture and a community where there's not a fear of crime, it's more that the criminals have a fear of committing crime.

"The people of Govanhill are going to get a bit of a shock as there is going to be a lot of police in the area and that's deliberate on our part.

"We will have that commitment and those resources and hopefully that will give residents a bit of reassurance and encouragement to engage with us."

Mr Smith added: "Getting in the doors and speaking to people is really key for us.

"It might help to dispel some of the myths by speaking to folk directly, people who probably wouldn't have spoken to us if we haven't done this."