Western Isles get sniffer dog

THE First Minister yesterday backed a move to bring in the first sniffer dog based in the Western Isles to combat the rise in drug crime.

Jack McConnell, who is on a two-day visit to the islands, met Roxy, a 14-month old cocker spaniel, who will become fully operational later this year after a stint at the Glasgow Dog Training School with handler PC Neil MacDonald.

The pair will be used at airports, ferry terminals and haulage depots to detect drugs. Funding has come from the Scottish Executive's Alcohol Drugs and Smoking Action Team.

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Mr McConnell said: "Across Scotland, we have been taking concerted action to tackle the drugs menace in our communities. In this case, clearly man's best friend has become the drug dealers' worst enemy."

Chief Inspector Murdo Fraser of Northern Constabulary said: "Our message is that drugs are not welcome in the Western Isles."

Police say that until 2006, the predominant drug type seized in the Western Isles was cannabis.

Between April last year and this month, drugs valued at 4,500 have been seized, with more than half being class A substances.