A hero police dog helped to catch three burglars after they broke into a house in Horsham and forced a police car off the road.
Police Dog Vinnie sniffed out the culprits when they hid in the garden of a house in Broadbridge Heath after they fled following an hour-long police chase.
But it was all in a day’s work for three-year-old canine crimefighter Vinnie.
His ‘handler’ PC Paul House said this week: “We’re having a steady run of successes at the moment.”
Vinnie has a highly-honed sense of smell and it is that, along with his meticulous training, that has led to his becoming a first rate doggy detective.
“He’s the brains of the outfit,” says PC House who has been a police dog handler for 17 years and has worked with Vinnie since he was a pup of just 10 months.
“Vinnie’s with me every day, 24/7. He stays at home with me in kennels at the end of the garden. But he’s not a pet. He’s a working dog, although he socialises with the family, it’s only outside. My wife doesn’t like dog hairs!
“He’s trained to do a job at the end of the day. You don’t want people patting him on the head when it’s all kicking off.”
And when it’s kicking off, Vinnie works all over Sussex with his main role being to search or track offenders and detain suspects, but he also helps to search for missing people and helps to quell public order offences.
And, although whatever Vinnie’s duties are, it’s never hard work for the crime-hunting hound. “It’s all just a game for him,” said PC House.
While in training, Vinnie is ‘rewarded’ with a toy when he hunts down his prey. And his reward for tracking down criminals? “He gets a lot of love and attention from me and that’s enough,” says PC House.
The three burglars that Vinnie helped to capture in Broadbridge Heath were last week jailed for a total of almost 12 years.