A West Midlands company that has helped cut crime with its innovative property marking system is now considering stock market floatation in an attempt to foil a new villain.
Telford-based Smartwater has developed a system to chemically track how well and how long ago hospital wards have been cleaned.
The company hopes the system will aid the battle against MRSA.
A "DNA style" coded liquid is placed in the detergent used by hospital cleaners. Although transparent in daylight, the non-toxic chemical will glow under UV light.
This will allow hospital management to check how well a room has been cleaned and, if analysed, the chemical can be traced back to a particular detergent bottle and the date it was used.
Although still in early developmental stages, chief executive Phil Cleary hopes that the system will provide the evidence that hospitals need to ensure wards are kept clean and the risk of infections are minimised.
He said: "We have patented the product, but now it's really a question of resources. We have a number of areas that we would like to diversify into and this is why the company is considering floatation to help raise funds for these projects."
Since 1996, Smartwater has grown from ex-West Midlands police officer Mr Cleary and chemist brother Mike " operating out of a garage" to 40 members of staff and a turnover of £2 million.
According to Mr Cleary this figure could have been tripled were it not for a long term strategy to promote the use of Smartwater among UK police forces by selling the product at a reduced cost.
Smartwater is a combination of two products that operate in a similar way to the planned detergent tracking system.
The first is a property tagging solution, like clear nail varnish, that contains a chemical fingerprint. If an item is stolen the liquid will show up under UV light, can be analysed and returned to its registered owner.
The second is an intruder marking system that sprays a burglar with a similar waterbased chemical that can't be removed by washing and chemically links the intruder with the scene of the crime.
The system has received significant success reducing crime among deprived areas where the police have issued it to residents for free.
Kits issued to residents of the Wood End, Henley Green, Manor Farm and Deedmore areas of Coventry saw a 76 per cent reduction in burglaries in December 2004, compared to the same month in 2003.
The system is now used by 95 per cent of UK police forces and 200,000 homes have been issued Smartwater products. The system even appeared in an episode of The Bill.
Mr Cleary said: "We have been operating as a notforprofit company because we wanted to make sure that the police knew the system, and had a strategy to make it work.
"Now we feel the time is right to launch and we are ready for a massive expansion."