The search is on for another drugs sniffer dog crowdfunded by islanders on Orkney after the first one lost its sense of smell because it had waited too long to be set loose.
Whisky was finally to be unleashed on dealers this month.
But after hold-ups in launching Orkney Drugs Dog, Whisky lost his ability to sniff out drugs.
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Just days before the dog was due to start to crack down on drugs dealers on the northern archipelago in October, his new handler, Kevin Moar, twisted his knee during a fitness test – delaying the groundbreaking service by three months.
Mr Moar, 50, is now in post and raring to go.
But Andrew Drever, chairman of Orkney Drugs Dog, said Whisky, who was a retiring Police Scotland dog, was not.
“With everything that happened he has not been on active duty for 12 weeks and no longer has the ability to smell drugs. He constantly needs to be on patrol.
“It is very frustrating, but we are now actively looking for another dog through police, RAF and other contacts. We have not found one yet, but we hope to have a dog in place perhaps next month.”
In September Whisky made his first swoop – even before he officially started!
Whisky was brought to Orkney for a two day introduction to meet the community with his handler PC Matthew Watson, who has since retired from the force. He agreed to keep Whisky while his new handler recovered.
But Whisky was involved in “enforcement activity” during his visit to the island – after a search of two properties at Andersquoy in Kirkwall resulted in herbal cannabis valued at approximately £300 being seized.
Whisky, a fully-trained golden Labrador, was enlisted from Police Scotland with Inverness-based PC Watson retiring.
The move comes amid growing concerns about drug misuse on the islands.
The sniffer dog move comes after Orkney saw a near doubling of drug possessions.
In 2016/17 there were just 29 – the following year there were 50. Supplying drugs offences went from two to four.
A similar sniffer dog patrol initiative has operated on Orkney’s northerly neighbours of Shetland since 2001 in an effort to safeguard the islands from the growing problem of illegal drugs.
Its leaders have been advising campaigners on Orkney about setting up their own scheme.
The annual running costs are between £55,000 and £60,000.