Police dogs become first in the UK to be trained to catch terrorists, paedophiles and fraudsters

Two police dogs have become the first ones in Britain to be trained to catch terrorists, paedophiles and fraudsters.

Tweed, a 19-month-old springer spaniel, and Rob, a 20-month-old black labrador have been taught to detect digital storage devices, such as USB sticks, SD cards and hard drives.

The 'digital dogs' are stationed with Devon and Cornwall, and Dorset Police but have been assisting operations across the UK.

The two west country forces launched a pilot scheme last year after police dog instructor Pc Graham Attwood discovered the first digital storage detection dogs were trained by the Connecticut State Police Department.

Tweed and Rob with their handlers PC Martin King and PC Jill Curnow. Credit: Devon & Cornwall and Dorset Police

Pc Attwood said: "Myself and members of the alliance dog school initially handled and trained Tweed and Rob, mainly in our own time, as we were committed to our usual daily duties of training the force's other operational police dogs.

"We have already seen some really fantastic results from these two dogs. Tweed on one warrant indicated that something may have been within what looked like a coke can. This was then inspected by a search officer and discovered that it was actually a money box which had a number of SD cards hidden within it.

"Rob has also indicated a small device hidden carefully in a drawer which would have likely been missed by the human eye, which just goes to show that they are able to locate these items which assists us greatly with our searches."

Rob and Tweed are part of a trial, and the force will assess the success of these dogs and their new skills at the end of the 2017 with a view to rolling it out wider.

The dogs live at home with their new full-time handlers Pc Martin King and Pc Jill Curnow.