After 30 years in the Metropolitan Police, a Loughton man has come up with an invention which he believes will break through language barriers worldwide.

The ex-cop, turned entrepreneur, came up with ‘Symband’ after being inspired by an Italian charm-bracelet.

Symband is a silicone bracelet which displays 16 universally recognised symbols, including ambulance, hospital, toilets, bank and police. Inventor Neil Hayden, who lives in Brooklyn Avenue, Loughton, said that the bracelet has been an instant success.

He said: “I know that there are apps and all sorts to help you when you are abroad, but you cannot always rely on technology.

“You can wear this anywhere. I’ve worn one for about six months.

“My family use it on holiday and the kids insist on using them, it is great because they are keen to communicate with non-English speaking people, my daughter uses it and she can get by in Spanish”

Priced at just two pounds, Neil hopes that the Symband bracelet will be popular with everyone from children, to avid travellers.

The idea behind the bracelet is that despite not being able to communicate verbally with people in other countries, showing someone a symbol of what you need is enough to get help, as Symband says, ‘point and go.’

Neil said: “The bracelet makes it easier to interact with people, a little bit like an ice breaker.

“We have a house in Spain and I have found when we are there that local people tend to appreciate it when you are making an effort to communicate with them, rather than expecting them to understand English.”

“It is all well and good using books, but you can’t take them everywhere, using Symband is quick and easy.”

Neil hopes to expand the Symband brand into a range of products which will allow easier communication. The bracelet can be seen at