Police are shining 'magic torches' into clubbers' faces to check for tiny traces of cocaine – and now employers and parents are being encouraged to follow suit.
Forces across the country are buying the £40 torches which can make any microscopic particles of cocaine or amphetamine that are invisible to the naked eye appear bright green.
Officers say the UV lights work as well as ones costing ten times as much and make it easy to spot the tin*iest traces of cocaine on nasal hair.
But drug campaigners have suggested the UV lights could be unlawful.
Claudia Rubin, head of policy at drugs charity Release, said: 'Searching someone's nostrils could amount to a cavity search and is a serious breach of individual privacy.
Police in Blackburn are the latest to use the torches allowing them to block revellers from parties and nightclubs. Sgt Alan Clayton said: 'This simple piece of equipment will have a big impact on drug use in pubs and clubs.
'Traces of cocaine are also left on the cheeks and chin that are not visible to the naked eye and these show up bright green, too. It really is amazing.'
The torches are produced by Wrexham-based JNE Marketing, intending them to be used to show markings on stolen property.
It only realised they could be used to spot drugs when police officers starting asking about them. They will detect cocaine that is at least 87 per cent pure and 78 per cent pure amphetamine of, including some, but not all, Ecstasy pills.
Sales and marketing manager Nick Hughes said: 'I'm sure there's a lot of groups who would want to know if their employees or family members were taking illegal substances.'
But Ms Rubin added 'If random drug testing is not written into the employee's contract, the employer has no right to request a drug test.'
Tuesday, March 31, 2009