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Police dog assists in search for pet store burglar

News   •   Apr 20, 2019 10:08 BST

A pet store may not be the ideal place for a police dog to focus on locating a burglary suspect.

But the temptation of toys, treats and other treasures was not enough to distract PD Kola from her task.

Police were alerted to a break-in at Pets at Home in Jane Murray Way, Burgess Hill, after an intruder alarm was activated around 11.16pm on Sunday (14 April).

On arrival several minutes later, PC Will Hewson discovered part of the glass front door was shattered.

The officer entered the premises, assisted by his canine counterpart, and as they approached the rear of the store they spotted a man wearing all black clothing, including gloves and a balaclava.

The suspect started to run, so PC Hewson shouted to make him aware of his presence and the deployment of PD Kola.

Shortly afterwards, the man emerged from the aisle where the rabbit enclosures are and gave himself up.

He was identified as Phillip Johnstone, 47, unemployed, of no fixed address.

Johnstone was arrested and remanded in custody to appear before Crawley Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (16 April), where he pleaded guilty to burglary with intent to steal.

He was sentenced to a 12-month community order, requiring him to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work, and made to pay £85 costs and a £85 victim surcharge.

PC Hewson said: “Like all Sussex Police general purpose dogs, PD Kola is fully qualified to carry out a number of tasks, including tracking and searching for criminals.

“Conditions such as weather, the environment and distractions all come with their challenges, however these highly intelligent dogs are trained to excel in such circumstances.

“Thankfully on this occasion the defendant complied with my commands and gave himself up, avoiding the necessity of a close-up encounter with Kola.”

Author: Sam Satchell
Ref: SXP54540/2019


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