Sussex Police draft sniffer dogs in from Surrey to assist with drugs operation

Laura Heathcote and Grant May, operational dog handlers for Surrey Police, with their dogs Mitzie and Sam

Laura Heathcote and Grant May, operational dog handlers for Surrey Police, with their dogs Mitzie and Sam

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AS Sussex Police do not have any passive drugs dogs, two were drafted in from Surrey Police for Operation Pulsar.

Operational dog handlers Laura Heathcote and Grant May, and their dogs Mitzie and Sam, used their specialist skills to weed out people in possession of drugs.

They are so enthusiastic. They just work and work and work.

Laura Heathcote, operational dog handler

Laura said: “We tend to use Labs or Spaniels for drugs. They have got a great nose but it’s also for the public perception.

“They are so enthusiastic. They just work and work and work. If they find somebody they get a tennis ball and that’s their sole motivation for working.

“I think they are beneficial. They are a great tool to have. We are more than happy to travel to wherever really.”

Each dog was rested every 30 to 45 minutes and rewarded whenever it caught the scent of drugs.

The handlers walked the dogs around groups and individuals and waited for a reaction from the dogs, which then allowed officers to search them.

On one occasion, Mitzie headed towards a man around 40ft away. He was found to have a small amount of cannabis hidden in his sock.

Impressed by the distance between the dog and the drug, Grant said: “You could do a 1,000 jobs and not see that again.”