A CANINE recruit is helping beat the arsonists.
The three-year-old dog has been recruited by West Yorkshire Fire Service to help probe suspicious fires.
Arson is a major problem in West Yorkshire with 7,763 incidents reported between April 2002 and the end of March this year.
Dex, a black labrador and his trainer, Sub Officer Chris Clarke, joined the brigade's fire investigation team nine months ago.
Dex's ability to sniff out substances used to start fires has made him invaluable to the brigade.
The pair have helped out on 50 occasions. Dex can detect if a fire accelerant such as petrol, paraffin, white spirit or acetone is in evidence and can often guide his trainer to the exact spot where it was used.
Dex was trained by Chris with the help of a colleague in Lancashire.
Assistant Chief Fire Officer David Monks said Dex had been popular with children.
He said: "We need to educate youngsters about the dangers of fire and visit a huge number of schools and community events.
"Dex certainly knows how to get their attention."
Dex's food, veterinary fees and vaccinations have been covered by sponsorship and a large insurer has already shown interest in further support.