Sniffer dog roots out cocaine and ketamine in zero-tolerance drugs crackdown across Ribble Valley pubs

Police officers and a sniffer dog were in action over the weekend tackling drug dealing in pubs across the Ribble Valley.

By Faiza Afzaal
Monday, 13th December 2021, 1:02 pm

The move - as part of Operation Tuffnell - saw officers from the Ribble Valley, along with East Lancashire's police licensing unit sergeant, Sgt Gary Hennigan, take to the streets with a trained drugs dog to sniff out any illegal substances in pubs.

The crackdown, in conjunction with members of the Ribble Valley Rural Task Force, The Pendle Task Force, Special Constabulary Officers, Ribble Valley Borough Council's Licensing Officers and, of course dog handler, Tamsin from Inquest Canine, was made possible thanks to funding from the borough council's Community Safety Partnership.

Over the course of the evening the trained dog - a golden Labrador - was able to sniff out a quantity of drugs from people. Cocaine and ketamine were recovered from several individuals, with those found in possession of Class A substances arrested.

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Over the course of the evening the trained dog - a golden Labrador - was able to sniff out a quantity of drugs from people. Cocaine and ketamine were recovered from several individuals, with those found in possession of Class A substances arrested.

Sgt Keven Day, of Clitheroe Police, explained: "Saturday 11th December saw the first outing of 'Operation Tufnell' in and around the licensed premises of the Ribble Valley.

"The Ribble Valley Neighbourhood Team and East Lancashire Police Licensing Unit (Sgt Gary Hennigan) have secured funding for the hire of a private drugs dog on multiple occasions. The funding came from our RVBC Community Safety Partnership without whom this would not have been possible.

"The hound is trained to recognise any illegal drug, which would include those that could be used in spiking offences.

"The method was simple - Gary and I would go into each pub first and give the licensee a warning of what was about to happen. Around a minute later Tamsin and her lovely Golden Labrador would follow us with a couple of bobbies and we let them go to work. If our sniffer liked the smell of someone they were 'invited' to take part in a search. Over the course of the evening our canine patrol took a liking to a fair few folk and we recovered cocaine and ketamine from several individuals. All of the people found to be in possession of Class A substances will be speaking with a magistrate in due course. This was a no-tolerance operation and no wrist slaps were being handed out.

"We were genuinely thrilled to see that all of the licensees were fully on-board and that 99% of the public were happy to get involved and were grateful to see that we had been listening to them and were tackling the drug dealers and users head-on. There's always the 1% who aren't quite so keen!

"I would like to say a huge thanks to everyone who got involved. We were asking people to walk out of venues to pass the dog in some cases and then walk round and back in. This isn't a normal expectation on your evening out, but it helped us take drugs off the street and hopefully demonstrate to our communities that we are working hard to keep you safe.

"More Operation Tufnell to come. Deal and use drugs around our Valley at your peril!"