Criminals put £25,000 bounty on elite sniffer dog’s head | UK News
An elite sniffer dog who has tracked down millions of pounds in illegal tobacco has had a £25,000 bounty put on his head by a criminal gang.
Stuart Phillips, who runs specialist detection dog service BWY Canine in Pembrokeshire, has claimed that the success of his trusty springer spaniel Scamp has spooked smugglers into taking action.
During his five-year career, the pooch has sniffed out £6m worth of illegal tobacco thanks to his powerful sense of smell and natural hunting instincts.
Mr Phillips said Scamp – who enjoys posing for Instagram pictures with his huge hauls – had experience of working with dozens of councils across the UK and his exploits have led to several court cases.
He said the bounty was evidence that the canine had upset “some really nasty people”.
Mr Phillips – who trained Scamp using games of fetch and odour testing – added: “[The bounty] was believed to be linked to an organised crime group and the relevant authorities were informed.
“I’ve also had death threats, my windscreen has been smashed and my tyres slashed.
“It’s understandable really, when you’re upsetting some really nasty people.”
Scamp is one of the expert detection dogs who work with the trainers at BWY Canine – with firearms, drugs and explosives among the other illegal items tracked down.
Illegal tobacco makes up most of the job, with it smuggled in from as far afield as China or Russia and sold on to fund organised crime.
Scamp’s colleague YoYo has sniffed out £4.5m worth of tobacco since he began work in 2014 – and now, the next generation of sniffer dogs are being trained using tried-and-tested methods.
Owner Mr Phillips explained: “Spaniels are especially good at being sniffer dogs because they have traditionally been used for hunting.
“Their natural instinct is to sniff out birds and rabbits. Some days we could be searching five or six shops with each search taking around 25 minutes.
“We need dogs that are capable of doing that work day in, day out. These dogs are made to work, they are not made to sit around on a sofa all day.”
As well as tobacco, dogs like Scamp and YoYo have also been trained to sniff out bank notes – with Scamp once uncovering a stash worth almost £60,000.