Super spaniel sniffs out £1 million in 5 months

Photo: ITN

Two year old Jessie is known to start her day like most dogs - looking for food. But the English springer spaniel, who was gifted to the UK Border Force, also has a nose for notes. She's based close to Heathrow Airport and in just 5 months, has sniffed out £1 million pounds in smuggled cash.

She's a really good little dog. I don't know why anyone wouldn't have wanted her. She has really taken to her training and we have had no problems with her at all. She's got it spot on.

– Rona Garrett, Heathrow UK Border Force Dog Unit

In only five months working at Heathrow Airport, Jessie has had an unprecedented run of success. She is trained to detect the scent of ink on bank notes and, in just one haul, discovered £350,000 in cash smuggled in freight that was being sent abroad. Other finds have been large, undeclared sums of money brought into the country in hand luggage from the Middle East.

Jessie rewarded with a ball by handler Catherine Jurczenko

Jessie only works with handler Catherine Jurczenko and the pair have a close relationship. Catherine says that although Jessie enjoys being rewarded with treats to eat, her favourite prize is playing with a tennis ball.

She'll do what I ask her to do because she knows she'll only get her ball when I've asked her to work, and she finds something for me. She has an excellent drive for work, loves what she does and knows what she's doing.

– Catherine Jurczenko, Jessie's handler

Sniffer dogs first joined the UK Border Force in 1978 and there are currently over 60 dogs across the country working for the service, with 17 of those based near Heathrow. Most dogs work until they are 8 years old before being moved to a good home.

It's not the best news for the bad guys, but after such a great start, Jessie is expected to have a long and lucrative career.

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