Monday, 15 Apr 2024

How Pickles the Dog Became a Hero of the 1966 World Cup

Pickles and the Stolen World Cup

Heard the one about the dog who helped recover the World Cup trophy? That’s right, amidst the excitement of Bobby Moore lifting the Jules Rimet trophy, a mixed breed collie named Pickles played a crucial role in retrieving the stolen cup. As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of this remarkable incident, let’s delve into the incredible story of Pickles the dog and his unexpected journey to football heroism.

The Unveiling of the Crime

The year was 1966, and the Jules Rimet trophy was on display at a stamp exhibition in central London. Just two days into the exhibition, on Sunday, March 20th, the trophy was stolen from its case at Westminster’s Central Hall. The circumstances surrounding the theft remain a mystery, with the security guards absent on a break. The Football Association found itself in a state of panic as the World Cup was only a few months away.

The Jules Rimet Trophy

The Amateurish Operation

The theft of the Jules Rimet trophy was an amateurish affair, exposing the inadequacies of the security arrangements. The Football Association’s decision to allow the trophy out for display, coupled with the age and inadequacy of the security guards, made it easier for the thieves to execute their plan. It is believed that two individuals broke in through an emergency exit, swiftly took the trophy, and made their escape.

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The Hunt Begins

Scotland Yard took charge of the investigation but had little to go on. Descriptions of two different individuals were provided, one tall and the other short, but there were no significant leads. During this time, the Football Association decided to commission a replica of the trophy to be made by silversmith George Bird. Additionally, they received a ransom note demanding £15,000 for the return of the original trophy.

Pickles to the Rescue

The pivotal moment in the recovery of the Jules Rimet trophy came on the evening of Sunday, March 27th. Dave Corbett, a London resident, left his flat in Norwood to make a phone call and take his dog, Pickles, for a walk. Little did Corbett know that this walk would thrust him and his four-legged companion into international headlines. As Pickles ran around a neighbor’s car, Corbett noticed a package wrapped tightly with string and covered in newspaper. When he tore off a bit, he recognized the words “Brazil,” “West Germany,” and “Uruguay” printed on a blank shield. Realizing it was the World Cup trophy, Corbett promptly informed the local police station.

Pickles and Dave Corbett

From Suspect to Hero

Upon presenting the trophy at the police station, Corbett was initially met with skepticism. However, once the police verified its authenticity, the media frenzy began. Pickles and Corbett became the center of attention as news outlets covered their extraordinary find. The National Canine Defence League awarded Pickles a medal, and the dog even found fame in the entertainment industry, appearing in a film called “The Spy with a Cold Nose.” Pickles soaked up the limelight, became Dog of the Year, and made appearances on popular television shows like Blue Peter and Magpie.

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Who found the stolen World Cup trophy in 1966?

Pickles, a mixed breed collie, discovered the stolen Jules Rimet trophy in 1966.

How did Pickles find the trophy?

Pickles’s owner, Dave Corbett, stumbled upon the trophy wrapped tightly with string and covered in newspaper during a routine walk.

What happened to Pickles after finding the trophy?

Pickles received recognition, awards, and film roles following his discovery of the trophy. Sadly, he passed away in 1967.


Pickles, the unassuming hero of the 1966 World Cup, captured the hearts of football fans around the world. Through a stroke of luck, this mixed breed collie stumbled upon the stolen Jules Rimet trophy, returning it to its rightful place. Pickles’s remarkable find remains an enduring and unforgettable chapter in football history.

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