By Tristan Harris Wednesday 26 September 2012 Updated: 26/09 12:49
A STRAY dog who was rescued by Bromsgrove's Blue Cross centre has become a hero after training as a sniffer dog and uncovering a hidden drugs stash worth more than a quarter of a million pounds.
English springer spaniel Ralph was described by staff as being 'skinny' and 'in a dreadful state' when he was found, but soon perked up when he was fed and given some love and attention.
Neil Edwards, the manager of the centre, based in Wildmoor Lane, Catshill, said being the breed he was, he had a high drive to keep busy and a great sense of smell and needed a lot of mental stimulation and exercise to avoid him becoming frustrated.
So the staff handed the two-year-old to the Irish Revenue Customs service and it was just two weeks into his job when Ralph detected the cannabis resin, worth £250,486, hidden in a car attempting to get into Ireland from France.
The dog indicated to officers he had detected something in the car and, when it was scanned by the customs' X-ray machine, the haul was found and a Ukranian man was arrested.
Ralph's handler Denny Lawlor said: “When Ralph first made the indication, we searched the car thoroughly but couldn’t find anything.
"But we trusted Ralph’s judgment so we got the high-tech scanner and found the drugs hidden away in a secret compartment in the boot area.
"Just a few days later he found a stash of cannabis hidden away in another car.”
Mr Lawlor, who has been a dog handler for 14 years, said Ralph was a great partner to have in the fight against crime.
"What I like about him is that you can see him getting better and better all the time and he’s so enthusiastic,” he added.
Mr Edwards said: "We are so happy that he is thriving in his new role and using his natural ability to help solve crimes.
"We wish him all the best for the future and hope he continues to enjoy his happy new life."
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