'Rot dogs' sniff out problems in old Sunderland church

Sam the 'rot dog' in action Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

A specialist 'Rot dog' has been brought in to help with the restoration of an historic church in Sunderland. Holy Trinity Church in the East End is nearly 300 years old and one of the city's oldest buildings.

The Grade I listed structure was in the very heart of old Sunderland and was the most important building in the emerging port town. It housed a fire station, magistrates court, the first public library and, for 150 years, the local council offices and police were housed here. The church closed in 1988 and now work is beginning on plans to restore the building.

Children from nearby Hudson Road Primary School came to watch Sam the Rot Dog in action. It's hoped the restored building will become a heritage centre used by the community.

Rot Dogs can sniff out dry rot the size of a pin head and are 98% accurate with what they find. It means rot can be found in historic buildings without having to damage the walls and panels to find it.