Labrador Retriever Buster with his handler Gavin Edwards at Gatwick Airport
Dogs which are used to fight against smuggling and the movement of drug money have sniffed out nearly Â£10 million in the last year.
The animals working for the UK Border Agency managed to pick up on the scent of Â£9.9 million of hidden cash. The money, which was detected by dogs stationed around the UK’s airports and ports, was seized by border officials in the last financial year.
Of the detector dogs used by the border force, there are 19 specially trained currency detector dogs which routinely check passengers and cargo and sniff out suspicious quantities of bank notes.
Labrador Retriever Buster has discovered tens of thousands of pounds and is only in the early stages of his career.
Within minutes of being deployed at Gatwick Airport, the two-year-old dog pointed his handler towards a woman who was found to have Â£8,000 in her hand luggage as she boarded a flight to Vietnam.
His handler Gavin Edwards, who affectionately calls him Buster Crimes, based on the name for American rapper Busta Rhymes, said: “Buster screens the passengers by sniffing their bags. If he finds a scent of money, he sits and indicates to me.
“We ask the passengers how much money they are carrying, depending on what they say, that person is then investigated by another officer. Depending on whether there are any relations to crime, we would then seize the money.”
Like other cash detector dogs, Buster has been loaned out to other agencies for raids on properties to locate hidden money.
While working on a house raid with HM Revenue and Customs, Buster discovered Â£34,000 hidden around the property of a person being investigated for tax fraud.
Currency detector dogs were first used in the UK in 1999. Initially two dogs were based at Heathrow Airport to search passengers’ baggage and freight leaving the country.
Dogs sniff out Â£9.9m hidden cash