Trailing dog helps Wiltshire Search and Rescue locate missing person

Trailing dog helps Wiltshire Search and Rescue locate missing person

Published by Jack Deery at 6:19am 7th July 2020. (Updated at 8:08am 7th July 2020)

3 minute read

They were joined by a new recruit from Lowland Rescues for the first time ever.

Volunteers from Wiltshire Search and Rescue were aided in the mission by Roo, who is a qualified specialist trailing dog.

The six year old spaniel-cross was trained as part of the 'Search Dog Heroes' project, a national programme funded by the People's Postcode Lottery, to follow the scent of a specific person. 

Trailing dogs work on a line attached to a harness .

Roo and her handler Jo, from Berkshire Search and Rescue Dogs, joined the team on a mission to find the missing person. 

Wiltshire Search and Rescue WILSAR
The charity often try to help locate missing people

This was the first time Wiltshire had been joined by a trailing dog. 

Roo was given an article from the missing person's house and told to follow that scent.

Along with Jo, they were then able to track them for over 1.5km, with a Search and Rescue team on foot nearby able to locate them.

Adrian Sawyer, Chair of Wiltshire Search and Rescue, said:

"We operate in close partnership with all Lowland Rescue search teams as we all work to the same standard. This particular search needed extra resources and so we were delighted to welcome Jo from Berkshire Search and Rescue Dogs and her search dog Roo to help us. The dog was able to direct the search in the direction that the vulnerable missing person had travelled, which allowed our search teams to concentrate efforts in that area. 

This was an excellent example of the interoperability between Search and Rescue and Wiltshire Police. The dog and handler worked unhindered through an urban environment while two officers protected them from oncoming traffic".

The dog training was funded through the 'Postcode Dream Trust' which aimed to help equip trailing dogs across the UK for events just like this, with 'Search Dog Heroes' launched in 2018.

Sgt Keith Jackson, Wiltshire Police Search Advisor said: 

"It's fantastic to be able to call on resources like this. With high risk missing persons, the faster we can find them the more likely it will be a happy outcome. I've no doubt that this new capability to give us a direction of travel and potentially even track all the way to the missing person's location will save more lives."

The organisation say they were workong closely and safely with Wiltshire Police to help keep the public safe from Covid-19.

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