Dog on scent of drug fans

SNIFFER dogs are to be used to police pubs, clubs and football matches as the latest weapon in the war on drugs in Sheffield.

Wednesday, 3rd October 2007, 8:46 am
Updated Monday, 8th October 2007, 9:10 am

The force wants to catch out football fans and night-time revellers flouting the law and using drugs. They say people high on drugs in crowded places puts lives at risk.

It will use the dogs at other major events in the city to drive home the message that supplying and taking drugs will not be tolerated.

The announcement comes after officers carried out 30 raids on the homes of suspected drug dealers supplying t addicts in Sheffield city centre at the end of an operation which began in February when officers began researching the drug problem.

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Hundreds of officers were involved in the operation, which involved doors being smashed open and surprise dawn raids being carried out over a three day period.

Officers will target Sheffield United fans at Bramall Lane after police and club officials reported the smell of cannabis game after game, but found it impossible to pinpoint offenders once they were in their seats among thousands .

One of the two dogs to be used, 16-month-old Springer Spaniel Paddy, went on an acclimatisation exercise at the ground this week ahead of his first drug detection outing.

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The dogs have been trained to detect all illegal drugs - even minute traces - and to alert their handlers to the finds.

Chief Insp Martin Scothern, overseeing the use of the drug dogs, said they should act as a deterrent to those who regularly take drugs into public venues. There are no arrangements yet to use the dogs at Sheffield Wednesday , but police say that would change if reports of a similar problem were regularly logged.

He said: "This is a big safety issue because if people are intoxicated with drugs, or whatever the substance, it becomes more difficult to manage them and if there was an emergency this could prove serious.

"The introduction of these dogs at events such as football matches gives people a chance to think about what they are doing.

"We know cannabis use is happening in the stadium because we can smell it, so using these dogs should reduce that because they will be able to walk along a line of people queuing to get in, or mingling outside, and they will be able to detect it. It will be the same outside pubs and clubs."

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