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New fingerprint technology that can profile a criminal's "lifestyle" could soon be admissible in court.

It's capable of detecting traces of drugs, blood, alcohol, condom lubricants, hair and cleaning products and other substances “of forensic interest”, researchers say, and could help investigators learn much more about a criminal’s activities, just from a fingerprint. 

The technology, which was developed by Sheffield Hallam University researchers, is called Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionisation Mass Spectrometry Imaging and Profiling (MALDI-MSI and MALDI-MSP).

Its creators have been working alongside West Yorkshire Police to trial the method, with funding from the Home Office’s Innovation Fund, and it could be used to help investigators in the very near future.

“There's a lot of scientific work going on, with Sheffield Hallam University and West Yorkshire Police visiting crime scenes looking at how this technique could fit in with the work flow of collecting conventional forensic evidence and other types of evidence, such as DNA and fibres,” the Home Office’s senior technical specialist, Stephen Bleay, told the BBC.

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