Pope Benedict XVI greeted Jake, a black Springador, before he left for Birmingham International Airport yesterday

Pope Benedict XVI yesterday stopped to give a police dog an unexpected pat while thanking some of the 2,000 members of the West Midlands Police who had helped to protect him during his visit.

After meeting the seminarians of England, Wales and Scotland at Oscott College, Sutton Coldfield, the Pope saw Jake, a black Springador who acts as an explosives sniffer for the police.

Wading through a crowd of public servants the Pope was greeted by the dog, who appeared to enjoy the attention.

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Assistant Chief Constable Sharon Rowe said: “It was a pleasure to meet his Holiness and very kind of him to take time to extend thanks to all the officers involved in the police operation.”

“This has been a hugely complex operation. It has involved agencies from across the public and private sector and been months in the planning.  I’m pleased to say it has been a resounding success.”

The Pope expressed his gratitude “for all the hard work of preparation” for his visit before departing for Rome from Birmingham International Airport.

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