Sniffer dogs at Manchester Airport only found sausages and cheese

Where are the Class A drugs?

Updated: 


UK Border Agency drug detection

Sniffer dogs at Manchester Airport failed to detect Class A drugs yet were able to locate holidaymakers' cheese and sausages, according to a new report.

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The team of detector dogs were trained to search for illegal drugs, tobacco, cash and "bush meat", although they did not sniff out any heroin or cocaine during a six-month period studied by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration.

The six canines, which cost £1.25 million to house and operate, each had a speciality and were trained to detect either money, products of animal origin (POAO), tobacco or drugs.

Manchester Airport

Over the period the dogs helped seize more than 46,000 cigarettes, 60kg of tobacco, 181kg of illegal meat, and £28,000 cash.

The dogs were successful at detecting illegal drugs on three occasions, finding small amounts of Class B substances. They also found tablets of human growth hormone, Viagra and Bromazepam.

Manchester Airport is the third largest in the UK and handled 22 million passengers between 2014 and 2015, with flights arriving from 200 destinations – the most of any UK airport.

Sniffer dogs

The report said: "Heroin and cocaine were assessed as 'very high' priority within both air passengers and freight.

"Yet, according to the data provided by Border Force, the dogs had made no Class A drugs detections in the period November 2014 to June 2015.

"When deployed, the POAO dog made multiple accurate detections, but most were of small amounts of cheese or sausages, wrongly brought back by returning British holidaymakers and posing minimal risk to UK public health."

The report concluded there needed to be a review of which flights were targeted and how the dogs were best used.

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