Dogs sniff out danger at airports

editorial image

Specialist sniffer dogs have been sent to the Middle east as part of an international effort to detect people trying to smuggle weapons.

Dog trainer Gavin Hepworth equipped the animals with their specialist skills at his canine centre in Denby Dale.

Mr Hepworth, chief adviser to the special operations tactical group in the Middle East, uses a specialist ‘scent wall’ to teach dogs how to sniff out explosives at airports.

Mr Hepworth said: “There are six dogs going out there to start with, and a total of 26 will be going. They are all labradors and springers.

“The beauty of these dogs is they are trained to detect weapons, fire arms and munitions.

“Right down to somebody who has got a bullet in their shoe.”

Mr Hepworth said the dogs could detect traces of explosive material from swabs taken from suspects searched at road blocks.

He said: “It’s to add an extra layer of security.

“If we can stop six people coming through and assembling a fire arm then we have thwarted that attack.”

Mr Hepworth said two of his best canine recruits were Toby and Boomer, who both arrived at the training centre from homes in Wakefield.

He said: “These two dogs proved to be too much for their owners. But they have proved to be my best two dogs.

“About one in 100 dogs make the grade for what we are looking for.”