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Sussex police show their ‘Puppy Love’ this Valentines Day

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Swap a candlelit supper for a rawhide chew in front of the fire and a bunch of red roses for a ball on a rope and you have every dog’s recipe for the perfect Valentine’s Day.

sussex police dogs
PD Mason (top left), PD Basil (top right), PD Basil and PD Gem (bottom left), PD Ollie (bottom right).

Police dog handlers in Sussex are showing the love for their canine friends this 14 February by celebrating the remarkable work carried out by their four-legged colleagues across the county.

Gem, Ollie, Basil and Mason are just four of the dogs who work across Sussex and Surrey and who feature in Sussex Police’s ‘Puppy Love Dating’ service. Unfortunately, there’s little chance of them sharing their affections as they only have eyes for their handlers, but their often brave work normally goes unheralded.

While the general perception of a police dog may be a big, hairy, noisy German Shepherd like Gem, a general purpose police dog who is five-years-old and works across the county, various breeds are used according to their various traits and abilities. Mason, an eight-year-old Labrador and Ollie, a six-year-old Brittany spaniel are both explosive search dogs at Gatwick and while a lot of their work is behind the scenes, passengers may see them working around the public areas of the airport. Basil, 8, is a cocker spaniel and he is used as a drugs search dog across Sussex.

The force also uses springer and cocker spaniels and Belgian Malinois, but that doesn’t discount using other breeds or even crosses if they are up to the job.

The dogs are selected as puppies, sometimes from litters bred by the dog unit, and are then fostered into families in Sussex and Surrey who socialise them and get them used to the world. During this time, they come back to us for puppy training and if after a year they are assessed as suitable, they start dog school. Training varies according to specialism but ranges from six weeks for a drugs detection dog to 12 weeks for a general purpose dog.

Last year, police dogs in Sussex and Surrey attended 13,140 incidents – that’s 36 a day – and were involved in 938 arrests and finding 104 missing people. They undertook 703 drugs, firearms and currency searches, which seized an incredible £563,000 in cash and nearly £650,000 worth of drugs. Talk about worth their weight in gold!

They go places a human would never be able to, cover large areas a whole lot more quickly and their amazing sense of smell is put to good use every day, sniffing out people from hundreds of yards away and having a nose for all sorts of illicit things. Above all else, they are faithful and brave and many a dog handler has been thankful for their chum getting them out of a sticky and sometimes dangerous situation.

If you are interested in becoming a police puppy foster family, you can email kennelattendants@surrey.pnn.police.uk for more information, but be aware that when they go off to dog school, they probably won’t be coming back!

Business

Aldi looking to open second store in Crawley, but where is it going to be?

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The UK’s fifth largest supermarket has been on an expansion drive in recent years as it targets having 1,200 stores open by 2025.

Among the towns it hopes to open in are Bognor Regis, Littlehampton, and Worthing.

Most excitingly for locals here though, it also wants to build an additional store in Crawley as well as Brighton and Hastings.

Aldi, which currently has more than 880 stores across the UK, has identified 20 new locations where it is looking for freehold town-centre or edge-of-centre sites suitable for development.

It says each site should be around 1.5 acres and able to accommodate a 20,000 sq ft store with around 100 parking spaces, ideally on a prominent main road and with good visibility and access. 

With Morrisons leaving their town centre location speculation has turned to whether this will now be the perfect location for the second Aldi.

Ciaran Aldridge, National Property Director at Aldi UK, said:

“Aldi is growing rapidly and we are welcoming around a million new customers into our stores every year.

“But there are also hundreds of towns across the UK where there is not an Aldi, meaning there are hundreds of thousands of people who can’t easily access the high quality, affordable food our customers love.

“We are willing to explore all opportunities, including developer-led schemes or existing retail units.”

The full list of locations it is targeting in Sussex are:

  • Bexhill
  • Bognor Regis
  • Brighton
  • Burgess Hill
  • Chichester
  • Crawley
  • East Grinstead
  • Eastbourne
  • Goring-by-Sea
  • Hailsham
  • Hastings
  • Haywards Heath
  • Horsham
  • Littlehampton
  • Midhurst
  • Newhaven
  • Portslade
  • Shoreham
  • Uckfield
  • Worthing

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