A crackdown on drug dealing in Orkney has suffered a setback after the handler for a new sniffer dog being introduced on the islands got hurt.
Ironically Whisky’s handler twisted his knee while running to pass his police supervised medical.
The service cannot start unless he passes the examination.
The 50-year-old man, who is not being named until he successfully completes his medical for the £27,000-a-year job, is now undergoing physio.
Andrew Drever, Orkney Drugs Dog chairman, admitted: “It is very frustrating.
“We were all ready to go this month and the chap goes and twists his knee on a training run to pass his police medical.
“You couldn’t make it up. We will now have to wait until he’s ready to pass the medical – which we think will be at the end of the year.
“I guess the only people who will be happy about this are the drug dealers, but Whisky will prove his worth once he gets going, I’m sure.”
Last month, Orkney’s new drugs dog 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 current handler PC Matthew Watson. He has agreed to keep Whisky while his new handler recovers.
But Whisky was involved in “enforcement activity” during his visit to the island – and a search of two properties at Andersquoy in Kirkwall resulted in herbal cannabis valued at approximately £300 being recovered.
The arrival of a permanent sniffer dog comes after a massive fundraising drive by anti-drugs campaigners.
The charity set up to raise the cash has now reached its initial funding target of around £105,000.
Whisky, a fully-trained golden Labrador, has been enlisted from Police Scotland as Inverness-based PC Watson is retiring.
The move comes amid growing concerns about drug misuse on the islands.
Mr Drever said: “The drugs problem here has been growing over the last 10 years and, while it is not as bad as some other areas, we want to nip it in the bud.
“There has also been a move from soft drugs to hard drugs here.”
The sniffer dog move comes after Orkney saw a near doubling of drug possessions.
In 2016/17 there were just 29 – last year there were 50. Supplying drugs offences went from two to four.
In May last year, class A & B drugs worth almost £30,000 were recovered during intelligence-led operations in Kirkwall and Stromness.