Three police sniffer dogs responsible for seizing more than £6 million have hang up their collars and retired- just in time for a mince pie at Christmas.
Northumbria Police will say goodbyeto Cracka, Snoop and Billy who retire this week after each dedicating nearlya decade of service to the force.
All three have regularly been involved in the region’s football matches, the Rugby World Cup, the Olympics andlarge-scale protests held across the force.
They have frequently been deployed atFerry terminals as well as to support Custom and Excise, Special Branchand Northumbria Police officers based at Newcastle International Airport.
But they have been most valuable whenit comes to stopping some of the region’s most prolific criminals by sniffing out evidence used to convict offenders.
Between the three Cocker Spaniels approximately £6 million in cash was seized, as was hundreds of kilograms of drugs andthousands of weapons. They also tracked a huge haul of stolen goods in over a decade of service.
Cracka even helped sniff out more than £110,000 in just a single operation.
But now he, his brother Snoop and Cocker Spaniel Billy are set for a long rest in front of the fire asthey look forward to the first Christmas of their hard earned retirement.
Dog Sergeant Julie Neve said: “Allthree of the dogs have a fantastic work ethic and really enjoyed theirrole supporting our officers on their operations.
“We are always sad to see our dogsretire but it is hard earned with each of them putting in nearly a decade of service to the force.
“Cracker and Snoop will be adopted by their handlers while Billy has already been found a loving home where he can spend his retirement in peace.”
Operations Chief Inspector John Heckels added: “Our police dogs are crucial when it comes to securing the evidence needed to put offenders before the courts and ultimately behind bars.
“Their work helps make our region safe and these animals are an important tool when it comes to policing large scale events across the force area.
“Cracka, Snoop and Billy are great examples of the work being done in our dog section and are a credit toour dog handlers and dog trainers.
“They will always go the extramile and will take these animals into their homes to make sure they meetthe high standard expected at Northumbria Police.”
All three of the dogs graduatedfrom their police training on December 12, 2007, after a training period within the force that sometimes takes up to 18 months if the dogs if they join the police as an infant pup.
The force currently has 90 animalsin the dog section including specialist including 12 drugs, cash and weapon detection dogs and 40 General Purpose police dogs.
There are also a selection ofother specialist animals with five explosive detection dogs, five forensic evidencedogs and eight Firearms Support dogs.
For more information about the dog sectionvisit our force website.