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Sunday, 9 February, 2003, 09:55 GMT
'Scruffy' mongrel is star recruit
Scruff
Scruff was rescued from a dog and cat shelter
A mongrel dog is helping Northumbria Police crack down on drug users and dealers.

The one-year-old collie-terrier cross - called Scruff - is the force's latest star recruit to their Passive Alert Narcotics Detection Dog team.

Scruff, who was rescued from kennels on Tyneside, joins fellow rescue dogs Bouncer, a mongrel, and Mickey, a spaniel.

The trio have been taught to scan people for the presence of controlled drugs such as heroin, cocaine, Ecstasy and amphetamines.

He is a lovely natured dog and one you really become attached to

Sergeant Larry Straker

Scruff was found as a stray in North Shields, underweight and with a skin condition, and was handed into Benton Cat and Dog Shelter.

The Dog Section officers regularly visit animal shelters looking for dogs, which could be trained to become part of the unit.

When Scruff was spotted as a potential recruit, Northumbria Police took him from the shelter and made a 75 donation.

Port patrol

Sergeant Larry Straker, of the Dog Section, said: "Scruff's taken to training superbly, there have been no problems at all.

"He is a lovely natured dog and one you really become attached to.

"For this type of work we've deliberately chosen dogs which are non-threatening as the vast majority of public we are likely to scan are innocent. It means we want a dog which is friendly with people and not aggressive."

The dogs are trained to scan the air around an individual and will indicate when someone is carrying controlled drugs, which gives police officers the reasonable suspicion they need to search them.

Their skills can be put to use at locations such as Newcastle Airport, North Shields ferry terminal and night-club queues.

Scruff lives with handler PC Rob Evans, who is based at Southwick police station in Sunderland.




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27 Jan 03 | England
16 Jan 03 | England
05 Sep 02 | England
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