Sniffer dogs tackle DVD piracy

by Clare Jones on September 2, 2008

We’ve already heard this week how a sniffer dog is helping to tackle the plight felt by the bumblebees by seeking out their nests for researchers, and now sniffer dogs are tackling the problem of DVD piracy.

Currently DVD piracy in the UK is a £200 million business. After the United States of America, Britain has the second biggest pirated film market with a reported 49.5 million illegal DVDs sold in 2007.

In order to battle the problem police sniffer dogs have been trained to detect the plastics that around found in DVD packaging. Two black Labradors, named Lucky and Flo, have were trained in Northern Ireland and have proved very successful at detecting the plastics used in the illegal DVD packaging. So much so that the dogs have become marked canines. The gangsters have put a bounty on their heads to the tune of £17,000.

Last week the two dogs uncovered a stash of illegal DVDs in Whitechapel market in London. They located 474 bootleg discs hidden beneath a stall. Two Chinese men were arrested and face prosecution for trading in pirate DVDs.

Illegal DVDs are sold very cheaply, for between £4 and £5. They’re also copies of current cinema releases as opposed to DVD releases, so they can’t be bought in the shops. Of course the down side with them is that the quality is very poor, and buying them means you’re funding criminal activities.

The two dogs have made searching for stolen discs a much easier task as they scan large areas within minutes. They don’t know the difference between legitimate and counterfeit discs, but you don’t tend to find large hauls of legitimate DVDs hidden in market stalls.

Their biggest haul came when they travelled to Malaysia and uncovered 1.7 million illegal DVDs. It was after this find that the bounty on their heads was placed.

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