Police use sniffer dogs in pirate DVD crackdown

Sniffer dogs trained to detect pirate DVDs have become one of the police’s most useful tools in combatting the illegal £200 million trade.

By Aislinn Simpson from www.telegraph.co.uk

The dogs are trained to detect the polycarbonate used in making DVDs and have been instrumental in dozens of arrests in London this year.

They help handlers uncover boxes of discs that are labelled as other items and can detect DVDs hidden in cars near to markets where they are traded.

Britain is now home to the world’s biggest black market in pirate DVDs after the United States, with 49.5 million sold in the country last year.

Most of the DVDs, which cost around £4, compared to £20 for the genuine article, often appear well before a film has been released for home viewing.

They are either made in Malaysia, China and Pakistan and then shipped in, but police have also uncovered a number of DVD factories in this country.

Two Northern Irish-trained black Labradors, Lucky and Flo, are now in demand worldwide following successes in New York and Malaysia hailed by one lawyer as a sign that “man’s best friend has become a DVD counterfeiter’s worst nightmare”.

The dogs are owned by the Motion Picture Association, the American body which represent the interests of major film companies around the world.

In New York last August, Lucky and Flo picked up the scent of hidden DVDs including the Bourne Ultimatum and Underdog during raids on three retail outlets in the city, leading to the charging of three people with trademark counterfeiting.

In Malaysia, they uncovered 1.7 million illegal discs, leading local gangsters to reportedly put up a bounty of $30,000 (£16,600) on the head of each dog.

Manny, a third dog who had been working with Lucky and Flo, died soon afterwards of unknown causes.

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