A drug-dealer, a drink-driver and a suspected burglar were all located by police dogs which proved you can run, but you can’t hide.
The incidents in Brighton, Crawley and Broad Oak are among some of the latest call outs for PD Spike and PD Diesel and their handler PC Mark Tully, and PD Troy and his handler PC Will Hewson.
Officers from the Surrey and Sussex Police Dog Unit have a wide range of tools and technology at their disposal, but it is often their canine counterparts that provide the most effective means of detection.
- On Monday 5 June, police were tasked with searching a silver Peugeot 307 which had been stopped in Lewes Road, Brighton, suspected of being involved in the supply of drugs.
Officers recovered a sock containing drugs wraps hidden behind the car stereo. However, a further search was conducted with the assistance of PD Diesel, a seven-year-old black Labrador trained to find cash, drugs and firearms, who continually indicated at the same spot.
His handler, PC Tully, reached in and found another sock containing approximately £1,000 in cash. PD Diesel then indicated at the same spot again, and a further sock containing drugs wraps and a mobile phone were discovered.
The driver, 26-year-old Zan Cekaj, an Albanian national of no fixed address, was arrested and charged with possession with intent to supply cocaine, possession of identity documents with intent and possession of criminal property (a fraudulent Romanian driving licence).
He pleaded guilty to all offences and was sentenced to a total of 39 months in prison at Lewes Crown Court on Friday 28 July. He was also ordered to pay a £170 victim surcharge.
PC Tully said: “You can use any piece of kit or equipment available to you, but when it comes to searching for a person or for property – such as drugs, cash or weapons – a dog’s nose is the sharpest tool in the box.”
- At about 2am on Friday 16 June, police were called to a burglary at a compound in James Watt Way, Lowfield Heath, Crawley.
Officers including PC Tully arrived at the scene and discovered an unoccupied white Renault van, however there was no trace of any suspects.
PD Spike, a four-year-old German Shepherd general purpose dog, picked up a scent and guided his handler through numerous fields, woodlands and streams, before a man was spotted hiding in thick undergrowth. The suspect attempted to make off from the scene, at which point he was detained and arrested.
A 38-year-old man from Reigate, Surrey, arrested on suspicion of burglary, has been released under investigation.
- At about 8.40pm on Wednesday 5 July, police attended a report of a suspected drugs deal in May Road, Brighton, where two men were seen to run from the scene.
PC Hewson, assisted by five-year-old PD Troy, also a German Shepherd general purpose dog, carried out a search of the area and located a man hiding in a wooden shed in nearby allotments.
The 21-year-old man from Hove was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs, and has been released under investigation.
There was no trace of any further suspects, however a search of a car park in the area led to the discovery of a quantity of a suspected Class A substance from within the wheel of a silver Vauxhall Astra, which was seized for evidence.
PC Hewson said: “All our general purpose dogs and specialist search dogs have hugely sensitive noses, countless times more sensitive than ours and far beyond the reach of any piece of police equipment. Their skills are honed through training to make them a formidable crime-fighting tool with the ability to locate a wide range of items such as drugs and weapons, as well as people who may, for example, be wanted or missing.
“Technology is constantly evolving, however we have yet to come close to anything to replicate our dogs’ remarkable sense of smell. Despite working with these dogs day in, day out, they continue to amaze us with their ability to detect things which may otherwise go unnoticed by a police officer.”
- At about 3.10pm on Tuesday 11 July, police were called after a Jaguar X-Type crashed into a parked car outside Broad Oak Primary School in Scotsford Road, Broad Oak.
The driver had made off from the scene, however once again PD Spike guided PC Tully through fields and woodland, where the suspect was found lying on the ground.
Simon Clay, 52, self-employed, of East Street, Mayfield, was arrested and charged with driving with 71mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath in his system and, and being involved in a road traffic collision and failing to report it.
At Hastings Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 26 July, Clay was disqualified from driving for 18 months. He was also fined £720, and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £72 victim surcharge.