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
Scientists enlist engineered protein to battle the MERS virus
22.05.2017 | University of Toronto
Insight into enzyme's 3-D structure could cut biofuel costs
19.05.2017 | DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.
In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...
Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...
For the first time, scientists have succeeded in studying the strength of hydrogen bonds in a single molecule using an atomic force microscope. Researchers from the University of Basel’s Swiss Nanoscience Institute network have reported the results in the journal Science Advances.
Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and is an integral part of almost all organic compounds. Molecules and sections of macromolecules are...
22.05.2017 | Event News
17.05.2017 | Event News
16.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Materials Sciences
22.05.2017 | Life Sciences
22.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy