Tributes paid to 'exceptional' police sniffer dog Mij
Tributes have poured in for an 'exceptional' police dog whose drug-finding abilities became so famous that he starred in a television series and made it 'impossible' for criminals to hide their narcotics.
Mij, an English springer spaniel, spent nine years with Nottinghamshire Police and is believed to have sniffed out drugs worth hundreds of thousands of pounds during his time with the force.
The legendary sniffer dog became so notorious among criminals that one drug dealer handed himself in after being pulled over by police because he recognised Mij from a television series.
Sadly, though, the former police dog died on Tuesday, October 5, at the age of 17-and-a-half years.
Leading the tributes to the much-loved spaniel, who joined the police as a puppy, his former handler PC Stu Hazard described him as an 'absolutely stunning' dog.
He said: 'Like a lot of spaniels Mij was absolutely crazy. He really wasn’t the most obedient dog at all - but he was absolutely stunning at what he was trained to do, which was to sniff out drugs, cash, firearms and ammunition.
'Over the years we spent together he sniffed out probably hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of drugs - in cars, in houses and even in dark fields.
'He was that good as a sniffer dog that it was pretty much impossible to hide anything from him.
'People would try to hide drugs in all sorts of places - in car door panels, inside gearstick housing, in plug sockets and under floorboards, but Mij would find them every single time.'
Mij’s work featured in several television documentaries and, on one occasion, his fame alone helped him to snare a drug dealer in Nottingham.
PC Hazard added: 'This car had been pulled over in Wollaton Street and the officers were holding four lads inside as me and Mij arrived at the scene.
'I remember the driver looking at as both, shaking his head and saying that he’d seen us on TV.
'He knew instantly he was in trouble so when I asked him if he had any drugs in the car he just came straight out with it and showed us a bag cocaine hidden in the footwell.
'He knew he had nowhere to go and just came out with it. I remember thinking that was a real compliment for Mij.'
On another occasion, the spaniel sniffed out two live rounds of ammunition under a paving slab and uncovered a gun that had been used in an armed robbery and buried in a garden.
Towards the end of his policing career, Mij was tasked with searching bags for drugs and weapons during the 2012 London Olympics.
PC Hazard said: 'I would really go so far as to say that if there was anything at all for Mij to find he would find it.'
'I used to see Mij regularly right up to the end his life. He really was a special dog and I was very sad to hear of his death.
'But I also felt a huge amount of pride at things we had done together.'