Dogs who sniffed out £6 million retire for Christmas

Dogs who sniffed out £6 million retire for Christmas

The trio of crime fighting mutts are set to leave Northumbria Police after nearly a decade with the force.

Billy, Cracka and Snoop have familiar faces in the city's football matches

Dogs who sniffed out £6 million retire for Christmas Billy, Cracka and Snoop have familiar faces in the city's football matches

Three trusty hounds responsible for seizing more than £6 million have hung up their collars and retired to spend the festive season with their handlers.

Northumbria Police will say goodbye to Cracka, Snoop and Billy who retire this week after each dedicating nearly a decade of service to the force.

Between the three Cocker Spaniels approximately £6 million in cash was seized, as was hundreds of kilograms of drugs and thousands of weapons. They also tracked a huge haul of stolen goods.

All three have been regularly involved in the region's football matches, the Rugby World Cup, the Olympics and large-scale protests held across the county.

They have frequently been deployed at ferry terminals to support Custom and Excise and officers based at Newcastle International Airport.

But they have been most valuable when it comes to stopping some of the region's most prolific criminals by sniffing out evidence used to convict offenders. Cracka even helped sniff out more than £110,000 in just a single operation.

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 to our dog handlers and dog trainers."

But now Cracka, his brother Snoop and Cocker Spaniel Billy are set for a long rest in front of the fire as they look forward to the first Christmas of their hard earned retirement.

Sergeant Julie Neve, a dog handler, said: "All three of the dogs have a fantastic work ethic and really enjoyed their role supporting our officers on their operations.

"We are always sad to see our dogs retire 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."

The force currently has 90 animals in the dog section including specialist including 12 drugs, cash and weapon detection dogs and 40 general purpose dogs.

There are also a selection of other specialist animals with five explosive detection dogs, five forensic evidence dogs and eight firearms support dogs.

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