A crime-fighting pooch has been honoured with an “animal OBE” after sniffing out thousands of pounds worth of drugs, stolen cash and weapons.
Cocker Spaniel Sweep was initially trained as a general purpose police dog in Edinburgh and began operational duties searching for drugs ten years ago.
But after a number of successful busts, he was trained in cash detection and soon recovered a whopping £160,000 of stolen cash which had been hidden in woodland.
In his remarkable career as a drugs, firearms, cash and poison detection dog, PD Sweep carried out some 300 searches, of which about 100 were positive.
The brave pooch recovered £500,000 worth of street drugs and almost £250,000 in cash.
And he was also responsible for recovering several guns, along with thousands of rounds of ammunition.
Sweep retired from his duties in 2015 but was yesterday finally honoured for his bravery.
The 11-year-old received the PDSA charity’s Order Of Merit for devotion to duty, known as the OBE of the animal world.
During a ceremony in Edinburgh, his handler, PC Rhona Meikle, said: “He makes a difference to the community by taking drugs, firearms off the street.
“He’s important as the bigger dogs. Sweep has got two sides. When you put on his harness he’s serious and finding things, but he’s good fun and gets on with other dogs.
“It’s been amazing to go to work with him and not know what the day holds.
“He reminds me of Droopy. He can be very outgoing but when he closes his mouth he can be very serious, with a long face.
“You can imagine him saying in a gloomy voice, ‘That makes me mad.’”
Sweep once indicated to a cheesecake in a fridge and a burger box in a freezer, to the amusement of fellow cops who assumed he wanted a scooby snack.
But it turned out crooks had hidden amphetamines in both plates.
Rhona added: “I think we definitely underestimate dogs. They can even find drugs in a bag of dog food.
“People think they won’t find it, but they’re very good at what they do.”
Sweep is now enjoying retirement with Rhona, her working German Shepherd PD Cali and Labrador Dan.