A POLICE dog which sniffed out more than £5million in cash, firearms and drugs has been posthumously honoured with a prestigious award after he died just weeks before the ceremony.
Jake, a Springer Spaniel, started his career working in Rugby and served with Warwickshire Police for a decade before he retired last September, serving the last 18 months despite being almost completely deaf.
The 13-year-old, who worked as a sniffer dog at royal visits and the Olympic Games, was posthumously presented with the PDSA Order of Merit, the animal equivalent of the OBE, after passing away just weeks earlier.
It is only the second ever presentation of the award – the first being for the Metropolitan Police dogs and horses that served during the London riots of 2011.
During his career Jake made more than 500 finds including assault rifles, shotguns, hand guns, over £650,000 worth of banknotes and over £4.5million in illegal drugs.
PC Andy Crouch worked with Jake throughout his career.
He said: “Jake worked tirelessly and performed thousands of searches. Even after his retirement, he loved playing and we would often set up ‘finds’ for him to seek out, to keep him stimulated. Jake would have carried on working, given half the chance, but it was important for him to take some time out. He was a joy to work with and I doubt that many handlers will find a dog so willing to work and to please.
“My family and I are devastated to lose Jake, especially so close to this award being presented. Jake’s award will take pride of place in our home, along with his Police Commendation and his Force tag, which he wore every day for ten years.”
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Ball, who nominated Jake for the award, said: “Jake’s service and achievements over the last ten years have been a great cause of pride in the force. PC Crouch and Jake formed a formidable team and there is no doubt that some serious criminals have been thwarted by Jake’s finely-tuned nose.”
It’s a dog’s life:
– Jake started training at 18-months-old, undergoing a four-week intensive course to train him to search and identify drugs
– After graduation he was partnered with PC Andy Crouch and the pair stayed together throughout Jake’s career
– Worked at royal visits, the Olympic Games, the Cheltenham Gold Cup Festival and Glastonbury
– At one music festival Jake found over £2,000 worth of well-concealed cannabis on a tour bus, resulting in the delay of the headline act
– On another he intercepted a car heading into a festival, leaping through an open window to uncover £1,000 worth of cocaine, hidden underneath the centre console
– After retiring in August 2014 he spent his days at home with Andy, his wife Claire and daughter Lydia, and their four other dogs