Press releases

Dixie the DVD Dog helps trading standards officers sniff out fakes

Trading standards have a new weapon against conmen selling fake DVDs in the form of a sniffer dog trained to find hidden stock.

One-year-old Dixie is introduced to the wider trading standards community today at the Trading Standards Institute annual Conference with a demonstration of her skills; she can detect even a small fragment of the plastics used in DVDs hidden out of sight.

Dogs like Dixie could have a huge impact on trading standards’ ability to crack down on sales of bootleg DVDs; although she can’t distinguish between legal and counterfeit discs, her skills enable large areas to be scanned within minutes rather than hours or days.

The idea to get a dog to form part of the team at Stirling Council and Clackmannanshire Council joint trading standards service came from trading standards officer Brian Wilson.

He said: 'The project which resulted in us having Dixie as part of our team started when I saw an article in the Times about a year ago about two dogs used by FACT that can sniff out DVDs  - I thought that would be a huge asset to us in the anti-counterfeiting work that we do.

'Dixie passed her assessment in May so she is now licensed to carry out work at car boot sales and the like.  We have already been on a few jobs with her, but I expect there will be many more now that she has been officially ‘unveiled’!

'The dog has been trained in the normal way for detection work using a tennis ball as a reward and having lots of fun.  She has searched houses, vehicles , trailers as well as outside locations - all of which she has handled very well, we are all very pleased with her.

'Dixie will find discs in any location and in any number. She will even find fragments of a broken up disc hidden for example inside a vehicle.  Once the discs have been found it’s up to the owner of them to explain why they have them if they turn out to be fake.
 
'This is a really important area of work – many people don’t realise that the vast majority of the trade in illegally copied DVDs has links to organised crime, affecting the safety and well-being of consumers and businesses on a wide scale.'

Notes for Editors:

For further information, for a photograph or to arrange an interview please contact the Trading Standards Institute press officer Irja Howie on 07780675815or by e-mail on irjah@tsi.org.uk
An ISDN line is available to pre-book!

Piracy of films and TV programmes cost the UK’s audio-visual sector £531m in 2008 alone (latest figure available), with over 60m counterfeit discs being sold in that same year. (source: Oxford Economics/ IPSOS).

Those found guilty of selling counterfeit discs can face a maximum ten years imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.
More than 113, 000 people work in the film and TV industries in the UK (more than any other single country in the EU) and it is their jobs that are directly impacted by piracy.

Trading Standards Institute (TSI)
TSI is a training and membership organisation that has represented the interests of the Trading Standards profession since 1881 nationally and internationally.  We aim to raise the profile of the profession while working towards fairer, better informed and safer consumer and business communities.
TSI’s members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities and in businesses.  We are also supporting the delivery of initiatives such as the advice services Consumer Direct, UK ECC and UK ECCS.


The Consumer Affairs and Trading Standards Conference 2010
The national Consumer Affairs and Trading Standards Conference 2010, organised by the Trading Standards Institute (TSI) is a 'must' for consumer journalists!
The TSI-hosted annual Conference and Exhibition is the leading consumer affairs and trading standards event in Europe.
The 2010 Conference is being held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre from Tuesday 15 June to Thursday 17 June.
Journalists and photographers are welcome to attend but should contact the press office on 0845 608 9430 to arrange passes.
Please contact the press office should you wish to organise any interviews – an ISDN line is available for pre-booking.
The conference is hosted by TSI chairman David Sanders and the main sponsor is the Electrical Safety Council. 
Some 3,000 people are attending the conference, including representatives from local and central government and those interested in fair trading, representatives of business and commerce, together with consumer organisations. This makes it an ideal place for consumer affairs journalists to mingle and make contacts!