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Pigs are being used to stop trouble flaring up at football matches by sniffing out fireworks being smuggled into the stadium.

The move follows an incident in which a player was hospitalised when he was shot by a flare fired from a soccer fan that had been illegally smuggled into the stadium.

The flare thrown from the St Petersburg-based team Zenit's fan area hit opposing team Dynamo’s Anton Shunin during a Russian Premier League game. Shunin was briefly hospitalized with eye injuries as a result.

But after finding a shortage of specially trained sniffer dogs capable of sniffing out fireworks - officials at Zenit accepted a trial offer to use sniffer pigs - and say they have been a resounding success.

Club spokesman Yury Fedotov said: "Pigs proved to be just as effective as dogs at identifying hidden flares. Modern technology has nothing that can do a better job."

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