Dogs have pretty sharp noses, its true; but smelling out the stolen metal in a junk yard, surely not?
Well, that is exactly what Jazz, the K9 metal detector does.
The black Labrador wunderdog has been trained by a former police dog instructor to help in the fight against metal theft.
But Jazz has a trick up her sleeve (or should that be nose?) Rather than smell out the guilty copper from the innocent, she locates a unique forensic marking with which it had been pre-marked.
Many police initiatives rely on marking high-risk metal, such as copper cable, with a proprietary forensic system called SelectaDNA. This system is, for instance, used by companies such as Network Rail. And with metal theft costing the UK economy approximately £770 million per year, with as many as 1,000 incidents reported each week, its use is likely to spread.
But finding marked metal in a large junk yard can be difficult, as the system relies on visual inspection.
Unless you have Jazz’ nose, that is.
Jazz, originally a gundog at a farm near Blackpool in north-west England, was retrained in two months by Mick Swindells, who started his company Search Dogs UK after retiring as a police officer for Lancashire Constabulary. He has trained dogs for a variety of purposes including drugs detection, tracking and trailing, and disaster recovery.
But he is particularly proud of his work with Jazz.
“Jazz is a world-first,” he said. ”As humans we can only search in two dimensions i.e. in the line of sight, but dogs can search in three dimensions by using their noses. They can be incredibly accurate, and can pinpoint their target to within a couple of centimetres.
“Jazz is able to touch the marked metal with her nose identifying the target scent of SelectaDNA, allowing officers to move in at this point and make further investigations.”