Arsonists in the South West will shortly have a new fire investigator to contend with - Cappa the black labrador, the latest sniffer dog to be sponsored by insurer Zurich.

Cappa is starting an intensive 11-week training programme with the Devon Fire & Rescue Service.

Once trained, the dog will be able to detect whether accelerants such as petrol or lighter fuel have been used to start a fire deliberately.

Cappa joins six four-legged colleagues already sponsored by Zurich and Eagle Star. To protect their paws from sharp glass or nails at the scene of a fire, the dogs wear special protective paw boots.

Zurich hopes that its doggy detection force will help improve crime clear-up figures and reduce costs.

"By sponsoring Cappa and other dogs like him we will be helping to provide a fast and cost-effective detection service," said Zurich spokeswoman Wendy May.