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SGS M-Scan developed petrol branding in 1997 in response to a case involving the death of 3 generations of a family whose house was petrol bombed. Over the past 10 years, many hundreds of petrol samples have been analysed and differentiated by means of the additive packages therein. The chemical compounds within the additive package that are exploited by SGS M-Scan for petrol brand identification are not employed for any other commercial use. Consequently, if such compounds are detected there are two possible explanations: if the item in question is a liquid, there is petrol within that liquid; or if the item in question is a solid, then that item has been in contact with liquid petrol (the compounds in question do not evaporate, hence the additive would not be present in petrol vapour. Contact with petrol vapour alone would not transfer the additive to that item).
We have an extensive database of fuels that have been collected since 1997. In order to supplement the analytical data from the database, SGS M-Scan exploits its extensive contacts in the petrochemicals industry to verify the analytical data and to explore any product exchanges and supply disruptions that may have occurred in relation to a specific date.
Late one night, a liquid was poured through the letterbox of a house and set alight. Luckily the occupants of the house were all rescued by the Fire Brigade (although they did suffer some smoke inhalation), and the house was severely fire damaged. Later the same day, Police Scenes of Crime Officers attended the property and recovered a sample of fire debris from inside the front door. A suspect was quickly identified by the police, and a petrol can containing liquid was found in his possession.
SGS M-Scan analysed the fire debris and established that the accelerant used was petrol. Further analysis of the debris identified the presence of a petrol additive package found in petrol sold from certain supermarkets throughout the country.
The liquid from the suspect’s petrol can was analysed and found to be petrol containing the same additive package as was detected in the debris from the house.
Police seized the CCTV footage from all of the relevant local supermarket petrol stations and were able to identify the suspect buying petrol approximately 20 minutes prior to the fire.