Murphy's the mobile detector

PUBLISHED: 15:04 29 September 2006 | UPDATED: 19:49 01 June 2010

Murphy, pictured with Phil Bowyer, is fast becoming an expert in connecting with mobile phones

Murphy, pictured with Phil Bowyer, is fast becoming an expert in connecting with mobile phones

A WISBECH man has helped to train the first sniffer dog in the country able to detect mobile telephones. Murphy, a 20 month-old English Springer Spaniel, is undergoing the last stages of his training in prisons across the East of England. He has been trai

A WISBECH man has helped to train the first sniffer dog in the country able to detect mobile telephones.

Murphy, a 20 month-old English Springer Spaniel, is undergoing the last stages of his training in prisons across the East of England. He has been trained to recognise the distinctive smell of phone handsets.

Mobile phones are banned in prisons because they are deemed a security risk. Prisoners have used them to plan escapes, threaten court witnesses and organise crime. Up until now prison officers had been relying on random searches to uncover mobile phones.

Now Phil Bowyer, of Orchard Leys, and a colleague, Mel Barker, have helped to train the only sniffer dog in the UK that is capable of identifying the scent given off by mobile phones.

Mr Bowyer, area drug dog co-ordinator for the prison service eastern area, said: " In order to disrupt the supply of illicit drugs and contraband entering our prisons the Prison Service is determined to develop new methods of detecting mobile phones.

"These new methods include the most up-to-date electronic mobile phone detectors together with the implementation of a research and development program to use 'sniffer dogs' to detect mobile phones."

Mr Bowyer added: "His training to date has been very successful, and he has been able to correctly identify mobile phones.

"The prison service will be monitoring Murphy's success with a view to introducing similar dogs in other jails."

INFORMATION: The prison service are looking for Labradors and Springer Spaniels between the ages of 15 months and two years to train as search dogs. If anyone would like to donate a dog, contact Mr Bowyer on 07976 450724.

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