Two new recruits have gone on duty for a unqiue police team covering the Burnham-On-Sea area.

The springer spaniels, Rufus and Ollie, are part of the operational team that cover anywhere across the force area.

The dogs have undergone a six-week training programme and are adept at finding cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, amphetamine, ketamine, mephedrone and cannabis as well as firearms and ammunition. They can also find cash.

Superintendent Tony Godwin, Head of Tri Force Specialist Operations said: “This is a brilliant example of Tri Force co-operation and makes best use of our assets. It allows us to be completely flexible where we deploy our dogs across the region and is therefore an invaluable cost saving approach. I wish all the handlers well in their vital work.”

The dogs are two of five donated to the force from members of the public following an appeal for canine volunteers. They are dogs who need extra stimulation outside of family life.

Rufus is two years old, comes from Dorset and has flown through the course. He will now live and work with PC Jon Norton. Ollie is 21 months old, comes from Hereford and will live and work with PC Louise Grabham.

Louise said: “They are both amazing dogs and have a desire to work. Ollie has an incredible nose and when he puts on his harness for work he quivers with excitement. Once the harness comes off at the end of the day he settles back into our family life.”

Ollie’s previous owner added: “Ollie looks fantastic now, quite a star. I wish him and his handler Louise success for their work in helping the community.”

The springer spaniels will work until they are approximately 8 years old and often they remain with the handler or sometimes they are rehomed.

Louise said: “We work closely with WAGS a charity for retired police dogs and they have done some tremendous work for us.”