Pooch joins team to sniff out leaks

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Northumbrian Water’s newest team member is a three-year-old springer spaniel who has been trained to sniff out leaks.

Denzel is being drafted into the Northumbrian Water leakage detection team to help locate leaks on the water company’s pipe network.

The spaniel has been through a rigorous programme with his handlers, ex-military dog trainers Luke Jones and Ross Stephenson from CAPE SPC.

He has been trained to recognise the tiniest traces of chlorine used to disinfect water supplies. He searches land where water pipes are laid and when he thinks he’s picked up the scent of a leak, he alerts his handlers and the detection teams, which then carry out further investigation to find and fix the problem.

Network performance specialist Joe Butterfield said: “We are so excited to have Denzel as part of the team at Northumbrian Water and can’t wait to see what he can do.

“We’ve seen so many stories where working and searching dogs have produced results for the likes of the police and the military that it would be foolish of us not to give this a try and see if the technique can be applied to our supply area.”

Handler Luke, who along with Ross also trained Denzel’s colleague Snipe, a two-year-old cocker spaniel, said: “Using dogs to search for drugs and explosives is well known, but there are a host of other applications that we are only just starting to explore. We’re really excited by the progress Denzel and Snipe have made.”