Dog owner feared pooch had found IRA bomb – but it was missing World Cup trophy

A determined dog called Pickles helped track down the World Cup trophy after thieves stole it from an exhibition.

The Jules Rimet Trophy disappeared from the Methodist Central Hall in Westminster, London, on March 20, 1966.

Three days later, the criminals demanded £15,000 from Football Association chief Joe Mears.

However, the middleman was arrested and they ended up dumping the trophy in a street.

A week after the theft, David Corbett was walking collie Pickles in Norwood, south London, when he started sniffing around his neighbour’s car.

Mr Corbett, who was 26 at the time, told the Mirror Online in 2016: “I took the dog, and he kept running around the side of my neighbour's car.

"There was a package by the front wheel. It was very tightly wrapped – the IRA was in action in those days and I thought to myself ‘was it a bomb?’

"So I picked it up. Put it down. Picked it up, put it down again. I tore a little bit off the bottom and saw a shield. I recognised it straight away and thought 'This is it!'"

But Pickles’ discovery nearly put his owner in a pickle!

When Mr Corbett brought the trophy to Gipsy Hill police station, the stony-faced desk sergeant said: "Doesn't look very world-cuppy to me."

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Oce the cup was measured, examined and eventually verified, Mr Corbett found himself being questioned by detectives as the “number one suspect”.

After England won the trophy, beating West Germany in glorious fashion in the final in July, Mr Corbett and Pickles were invited to the winner's banquet – with the dog given the honour of licking Mr Corbett's dinner plate clean.

He also hit international headlines and was awarded a medal by the National Canine Defence League, while Mr Corbett received payouts from sponsors and the cup’s insurers of almost £5,000, with which he bought a house.

That wasn’t the end of Pickles’ fame. He appeared in a film with Eric Sykes called The Spy With A Cold Nose, had an outing on Blue Peter, was invited to grand openings and to restaurants.

Mr Corbett added: “It was quite exciting really. They say everyone gets 10 minutes of fame, well I seem to get one every four years when the World Cup is on."

Mr Corbett thinks his beloved pet started to enjoy having a lot more photos taken after the find.

He added: "I reckon he's the most famous dog in sport. He used to get recognised, especially going to dos, and he enjoyed it – loved getting fussed, especially by children.

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"I think he knew what was going on. There was always a little sparkle in his eye after that. And he always looked regal during photoshoots."

"Pickles was a great dog. The only thing he didn't like was cats – and that's what did for him really."

Pickles died in tragic circumstances in 1967 after chasing a cat and getting stuck in a tree, where he choked when his collar got caught on a branch. Mr Corbett buried him in the garden where a plaque now stands.

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