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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 April 2006, 23:58 GMT 00:58 UK
Fire dog will sniff out foul play
Jay the dog
Jay was paired up with retained firefighter Trevor Lynch
A dog which can sniff out whether fires have been started deliberately is being used by a Scottish fire service.

Jay has been trained to detect accelerants, such as petrol, paraffin and white spirit, which are often used to maliciously start fires.

The three-year-old Border Collie will be used by Central Scotland Fire and Rescue Service in cases where foul play is suspected.

Jay, trained by police dog handlers, is the first of his kind in Scotland.

Although the dog has yet to be sent to a fire scene, he has been kitted out with a set of fire boots, to protect his paws when working at a scene.

Educate youngsters

However his trainer Trevor Lynch, who has been a retained firefighter in Larbert for 14 years, said Jay was just as much about fire prevention.

"The target group to tackle wilful fire-raising is normally from the age of 11 to 17-years-old," he said.

"One of the things we've been doing is going to schools to let people know what we're doing and also to educate pupils about the dangers of wilful fire-raising."

Jay, whose sense of smell is about 1,000 times better than that of a human, received specially adapted training from Central Scotland Police.

Instead of being shown how to search for drugs, he was trained how to detect hydrocarbons.

Mr Lynch said: "The dog is very quick to search areas and it should significantly cut down on the time it takes to search a scene following a fire for traces of accelerant."

Thomas Mann, deputy chief fire officer for Central Scotland Fire and Rescue Service, said Jay had already attracted interest from other services in Scotland.

He added: "The number of wilful fire-raising incidents has increased over the years and this will enhance the tools officers have available to them to carry out their work."

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