The results will be announced at the BA Festival of Science in York and the paper will be published in Forensic Science International on Thursday 13 September.
Paper money is almost always tainted with some drug residue. Evidence presented at court shows how banknotes seized from a suspect may differ from banknotes in general circulation, in the form of higher contamination with drugs.
A question arising from such evidence is whether seized banknotes could have become contaminated through being in circulation in drug ‘hot spots’. Defendants may claim that bank notes from such places are more likely to have a high level of drug residue, even if arising from innocent sources.
Researchers from the University of Bristol and Mass Spec Analytical Ltd, a company based in Bristol, have now shown this argument to be invalid.
Gavin Lloyd, Karl Ebejer and colleagues analysed £10 and £20 notes from areas across the UK that are rich and poor, urban and rural, safe and dangerous. These also included whether a town is a port of entry – smugglers often use these to bring drugs into the UK – or whether a region has high levels of drug offenders in the community.
Gavin Lloyd from the University of Bristol, said: “The UK's black economy in drug dealing is estimated to be around £4 billion a year, similar to the entire economy of New Zealand. For obvious reasons this economy involves substantial cash-in-hand transactions. We wanted to answer two questions: could there be small localised cash-in-hand economies where the levels of contamination are higher because of a high number of drug users, and could highly contaminated banknotes be found on innocent people living in these areas?”
Using a mass spectrometer, the researchers performed a chemical analysis of each bill, allowing them to gather information on the levels of cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and ecstasy on each bank note, and related those measurements to where the note came from.
Using powerful statistical analysis of the results, their conclusions are that geographical location has absolutely no influence on the distribution of contamination. A probable explanation is that banknotes are rapidly mixed by the banking system and circulate via regional depots, and so localised ‘economies’ have little influence on contamination patterns.
Karl Ebejer from Mass Spec Analytical Ltd added: “On each trip to the bank, the researcher would note the arm on which he was wearing his wristwatch. The statistics showed that the arm he wore his watch on had as much relevance to the amount of drug residue found on those bills, as where the bills came from.”
Cherry Lewis | alfa
First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration
25.10.2016 | eLife
Phenotype at the push of a button
25.10.2016 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences
25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
25.10.2016 | Process Engineering