HIS highly sensitive nose can sniff out explosives at 50 paces. And because he weighs a mere 3lb, there is no chance of him setting them off when he finds them. Kofi the Gambian pouched rat is the latest weapon in the battle against landmines - the relics of war that litter large parts of Africa and kill thousands every year. Although rats have been trained to detect landmines there for some time, Kofi is the first to be schooled in Britain. He has 20 minutes of training a day from staff at the wildlife sanctuary where he lives in Cornwall. His handler Wendy Winstanley hopes to offer his services to the Army and the police anti-terrorist unit once he has earned his stripes. 'Kofi is amazing, his sniff ability is really incredible, she said. 'People think of rats as vermin but they are highly intelligent creatures-They have a more heightened sense of smell than dogs and because they are so much lighter they have less chance of setting off an explosive. 'In this country these rats would be excellent at sniffing out bombs. At the moment we use dogs, but I think the rats would be much more effective. Training starts when the rats are weaned at five weeks. They are taught to recognise the smell of metal landmine casings in return for a food reward. In Kofis case, its a piece of avocado. When fully trained, the rats sniff out a mine, then sit and scratch at the spot until they are rewarded with food. An explosives expert then destroys the mine. Thirty sniffer rats are already being used in Mozambique to help clear landmines in the aftermath of the civil war. A rat can clear 100 metres square in 30 minutes, equivalent to two days of human Daily Mail