Tributes flood in as legendary Notts police dog who caught hundreds of criminals dies

By Jack Evans & Karen Antcliff

Tributes have flooded in for an “exceptional” Notts police dog who sniffed out hundreds of criminals, policed at the 2012 London Olympics and even starred in a TV series.

Mij, described at a "crazy" English springer spaniel, has sadly died at the grand old age of 17-and-a-half years.

The super sniffer dog joined Nottinghamshire Police as a puppy and spent nine years helping put crooks behind bars.

He once caught a drug dealer red handed who handed himself in after recognising Mij from a TV series on police pooches.

The criminal gave himself up because he knew Mij would find his bag of cocaine in his car.

Leading the tributes to Mij, his former handler PC Stu Hazard said: “Like a lot of spaniels Mij was absolutely crazy.

“He really wasn’t the most obedient dog at all – but he was absolutely stunning at what he was trained to do, which was to sniff out drugs, cash, firearms and ammunition.

“Over the years we spent together he sniffed out probably hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of drugs – in cars, in houses and even in dark fields.

“He was that good as a sniffer dog that it was pretty much impossible to hide anything from him.

“People would try to hide drugs in all sorts of places – in car door panels, inside gearstick housing, in plug sockets and under floorboards, but Mij would find them every single time.

“I remember one search we did at a garage where somebody had tried to hide a bag of drugs in a big tub of coffee.

“They clearly assume that the smell of the coffee would mask the smell of the drugs, but the thing with police dogs is they are trained only to sniff out a limited number of scents and they really aren’t interested in anything else.

“They also do it all for a tennis ball."

“Another time I remember we chased a lad in Southwell on suspicion of drugs offences.

"When we caught up with him he had nothing on him, but we were pretty sure he’d
thrown something on the ground nearby.

“However it was pitch black and we had absolutely no hope of finding it ourselves.

“Mij sniffed out a bag of drugs almost as soon as he was let off the lead.

“I would really go so far as to say that if there was anything at all for Mij to find he would find it.”

Mij, the English Springer Spaniel with PC Stu Hazard (Nottinghamshire Police / SWNS)

On another occasion he uncovered a gun which had been used in an armed robbery and buried in a garden.

He also sniffed out two live rounds of ammunition under a paving slab.

Towards the end of his career, the legendary pooch was tasked with searching bags for drugs and weapons during the 2012 London Olympics.

Mij’s exploits featured in several television documentaries and his fame even helped him snare a drug dealer in Nottingham.

PC Hazard added: “This car had been pulled over in Wollaton Street, Nottingham, and the officers were holding four lads inside as me and Mij arrived at the scene.

“I remember the driver looking at as both, shaking his head and saying that he’d seen us on TV.

“He knew instantly he was in trouble so when I asked him if he had any drugs in the car he just came straight out with it and showed us a bag cocaine hidden in the footwell.

“He knew he had nowhere to go and just came out with it. I remember thinking that was a real compliment for Mij.”

One of the stranger things Mij came across was a six-foot python while searching a living room.

PC Hazard said: “He stopped and went down on his front paws as if he was meeting another dog to play.

"I was still wondering what he was up to when I saw a six-foot python come slithering towards us.

“I was terrified and got us out of there as quickly as a I could.

“When I asked the guy why he hadn’t mentioned the snake he said he had forgotten to mention it – although I really have no idea how you forget the fact you have a six-foot snake in your house.

"I know I won’t forget it and I am pretty sure Mij didn’t either.

“I used to see Mij regularly right up to the end his life. He really was a special dog and I was very sad to hear of his death.

"But I also felt a huge amount of pride at things we had done together.”

Mij died last Tuesday, October 5, 2021.

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