Two suspected thieves have been arrested after a cross-county car chase ended in a police dog winning a foot race.
Just after 8pm last Sunday (January 26) police spotted a suspected stolen car travelling on the A19 near to Sunderland.
The white Ford Fiesta was believed to have been taken during a burglary of an address in Manchester at the weekend.
Officers continued to pursue the vehicle but it failed to stop and continued to drive dangerously as it headed south.
The vehicle later travelled through Durham and into Cleveland as officers from those local Forces joined in the high-speed chase.
More than an hour after the pursuit began, the Ford Fiesta was eventually abandoned by the driver in the Hartlepool area.
Two men then fled the area on foot and it was then over to PC Steve Henry and his K9 Ivan to track the suspects down.
One of the suspects was quickly arrested while PD Ivan continued to carry out a search of the area with the assistance of the National Police Air Service (NPAS) helicopter.
The two-year-old Belgian Malinois tracked the suspect across a nearby field before he was located in nearby woodland and placed under arrest.
PC Henry, of Northumbria Police’s Dog Section, has today (Monday) praised Ivan for his efforts – and said that he got a well-deserved treat at the end of their shift.
He said: “This was a fantastic piece of teamwork between three different police forces and the NPAS helicopter.
“It has been a lengthy pursuit that has lasted well over an hour and taken place across three different Force areas.
“To bring this incident to a close without anyone being injured, or any significant collision, is testament to the skill and professionalism of the officers in pursuit.
“I am just delighted that PD Ivan had the opportunity to do what he does best and track down those believed to have been in the vehicle.
“He is a fantastic dog and has had a number of great results so I made sure that he got a nice treat at the end of a busy night shift.”
An investigation into the incident is being progressed by Durham Constabulary but the two men arrested have since been released under investigation.