Dogs specially trained to sniff out DVDs are to go on duty at Stansted airport this summer.
Two black Labradors named Lucky and Flo will patrol the airport trying to sniff out pirated DVDs brought in by organised criminals. This is the first time this type of sniffer dog has been tried anywhere in the world.
"These dogs are one of a number of powerful tools in detecting organised crime," said HM Revenue & Customs detection manager Ian Chadwick.
"I don't think that members of the public realise that each time they buy a counterfeit DVD they are supporting criminal activity."
The dogs were trained over an eight-month period to identify DVDs that may be located in boxes, envelopes or other packaging, as well as discs concealed among other goods.
For their first major live test, Lucky and Flo were put to work at FedEx's UK hub at Stansted and were immediately successful in identifying packages and parcels containing DVDs for destinations in the UK. Unfortunately for the dogs they were all legitimate shipments.
"While all were legitimate shipments on the day, our message to anyone thinking about shipping counterfeit DVDs through the FedEx network is simple: you're going to get caught," said FedEx UK managing director Trevor Hoyle.
"FedEx employs state-of-the art security, and Lucky and Flo are now on the case."
The Motion Picture Association of America estimates the criminal gain in the UK from piracy at £278m in 2005. Mary Callahan, director of optical disc operations at the MPAA, welcomed the new initiative.
"Lucky and Flo's immediate success in locating DVDs in transit offers us a new and highly effective means of detection for counterfeit discs," she said.
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