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22 November 2006

SMITHS Detection, part of the global technology business Smiths Group, today announces it is providing an advanced narcotics detector to assist in a new project to tackle drugs smugglers coming to the UK from Ghana.

The Paymaster General, Dawn Primarolo, will launch the project at Heathrow Airport today.

HMRC Detection Officers are being deployed to Ghana to offer technical and operational expertise to assist with Ghanaian Law Enforcement anti-drugs activity.

Called Operation Westbridge, the project is a partnership between the British and Ghanaian governments. West Africa has been identified as an area of rising importance for the trafficking and transit of Class A drugs to Europe.

Smiths Detection is providing HMRC with the IONSCAN 400B narcotics detector which can detect and identify microscopic traces of narcotics.

Stephen Phipson, Group Managing Director of Smiths Detection, said: "We are working closely with HMRC to help tackle the growing level of drug smuggling into this country."

"In recent months we have supplied Sentinels, which are walk-through narcotics detection portals, to be deployed at Heathrow and Manchester airports following successful trials. We have also provided a new version of Sentinel that is wide enough to accommodate a baggage trolley. This is now operating at Heathrow Airport.

"The Sentinel uses the same highly sensitive technology as the IONSCAN 400B, which is a fast and effective desktop narcotics detection system now to be used in Operation Westbridge.

Using dual Ion Mobility Spectrometry (IMS) technology, the IONSCAN 400B can detect tiny traces of drugs. A swab of items such as a rucksack results in a sample which is then placed into the IONSCAN for analysis. In eight seconds, the colour-coded display presents results to the operator - red for a detection and green for the all-clear. If a detection is made, the substance is also identified and the type of drug appears on the display.


*IONSCAN is a trade mark of Smiths Detection

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