A car thief was left with glowing green eyes and looking like a nuclear radiation victim by anti-theft technology.

Yafet Askale, 28, got a face full of glow-in-the-dark spray paint when he broke into a vehicle parked in Harlesden, London.

The invisible goo stuck to his body and clothes and showed up under UV lights, so that Askale shone with a bright green glow. His features were covered with the SmartWater substance, making him look like an extra from an alien film or nuclear disaster flick.

Police said the traceable liquid evidence was obvious, but Askale still denied breaking in to a 'trap car' - which officers had set up as part of a sting operation against vehicle crime.

Askale was convicted of theft from a motor vehicle at Brent Magistrates Court. He was sentenced to 49 hours' community service and ordered to pay £400 costs.

Detective Inspector Madeline Ryder of Brent Police said: "This is another excellent example of the thorough work completed by Brent Officers. Using the trap car technology, we were able to charge Askale and put him before the courts.

"The trap car forms part of an overall crime reduction strategy designed by SmartWater, which is an effective weapon in the armoury of tools that we routinely use in Brent. We will continue to target those who are insistent on committing these types of offence."

"Scotland Yard has been handing our SmartWater to residents in Harlesden to coat their possessions with. Burglary and street robbery have dropped by 80% and 40% respectively as a result," a spokesman claimed.