Sniffer dog Tilly is the latest recruit to a fire investigation team that has helped halve the number of arsons in Surrey.
The Springer Spaniel has recently joined Surrey Fire and Rescue Service’s arson task force which has slashed the number of deliberate fires by 48% since 2004.
Two year old Tilly completed three months of rigorous training after being donated to the fire service.
She uses her extraordinary sense of smell to detect even the smallest traces of flammable liquids, such as petrol and paraffin, at the scene of suspicious fires.
Tilly’s handler and fire investigator Steve Craig said: “Tilly is so good she can find a drop of fuel on an area the size of a football pitch in minutes, whereas human investigators could take a whole afternoon. That means she greatly reduces the time and cost of investigating suspicious fires.
“Tilly’s special equipment includes boots to protect her feet.”
Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety Kay Hammond said: “People might be surprised to see an excited Springer Spaniel at the scene of a fire but Tilly has proved invaluable at reducing the number of these crimes and keeping Surrey residents safe.”
Tilly and her handler are based at Surrey Fire and Rescue Service’s headquarters in Reigate but can be called upon by other forces in the region to support their investigations.
The Springer Spaniel joined fellow arson investigation dog Max, a black Labrador, on the team. They are both trained to detect the 12 most commonly used fuels used in arson.
Media requiring more information should contact Jacob Leverett in Surrey County Council’s media relations team on 0208 541 9419 or Jacob.Leverett@surreycc.gov.uk