Page last updated at 05:53 GMT, Friday, 18 April 2008 06:53 UK

Sniffer dogs on nightclub doors

The sniffer dogs operate in several nightclubs
The sniffer dogs operate in several nightclubs

Nightclubs in County Down are putting permanent sniffer dogs on their doors to root out people smuggling drugs.

Several premises in Banbridge are using the specially trained animals, which are usually seen trying to detect contraband at airports.

Ten people were detected with drugs on the first night springer spaniel Molly began work at the BLU nightclub at the Bannville House Hotel.

Quantities of cannabis and cocaine were confiscated and the police were called.

A sniffer dog is also being used to screen people entering the Coach nightclub in the town centre.

The animals are operated by a company which specialises in dog handling and the detection of illegal drugs.

'Private company'

The Bannville House Hotel said it wanted to stamp out drugs in its nightclub to prevent trouble which had occurred in other venues in the town.

"The dog is a great deterrent and has been very successful," said a spokesman.

"People are very wary of the dog which detects a number of things. It has already detected drugs - when this happens we contact the police and they take it from there.

"The dog (Molly) will be an ongoing thing."

The springer spaniel's handler told the Banbridge Chronicle newspaper people carrying drugs saw the dog and then tried to get rid of them before going into the nightclub.

"There are very few dogs in Northern Ireland - there's the private company I work for and another company in Dublin," he said.

"People are making big money from drugs which is making them more popular.

"I think other clubs will see how effective this initiative is and introduce a dog to their venue."

He added: "The dogs we use are 'bomb-proof' which means they stay calm in all situations and aren't dangerous."

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