A LEDBURY man will cap a remarkable year that has seen him appear in the latest blockbuster Batman movie by travelling to Austria to take part in the Protection Dog World Championships.

Ashley Foster and his father Travis flew out to Germany on Monday for a week’s training with German shepherd Kai ahead of the world championships, which start on Tuesday.

Ashley, aged 25, of Elmsdale Road, will be helping his father train Kai for some of the setpiece disciplines, in particular the pursuit of a “criminal”.

Looking forward to the competition next week, he said: “The top five qualified German shepherd protection sport dogs from 50 countries will be competing, with around 30,000 international spectators expected.”

But those numbers are small in comparison to the number of people who have seen the trio make their debut on the big screen this year.

Alongside another of their dogs, Tilly, they were chosen for a role in the box office smash The Dark Knight Rises.

Both handlers and dogs played the roles of mercenary thugs that terrorised hostages being held by the film’s main villain, Bane, played by Tom Hardy.

Filming took place in June last year when the two men were called to a then secret set location in the University of London’s Senate Building.

Kai is no stranger to fame, having hit the headlines last year for breaking the UK Obedience Record at the 2011 UK National Championships.

He is currently ranked the German Shepherd Dog League’s number one working protection dog in the UK.