Tributes have been paid to one of Merseyside Police's valued police dogs, Police Dog (PD) Ghost, who died in the early hours of this morning (Tuesday, 8 November) whilst on duty.
Officers were called to an address on Southworth Road, Newton-le-Willows, at around 4am to reports of intruders at a premises.
As part of the search of the area, PD Ghost, a German Shepherd who would have been four years-old on 19th November, and his handler, Constable Dave Bartley, were deployed to try and trace any offenders.
Sadly, PD Ghost was found on the M6 motorway a short while later. He had died after suffering traumatic injuries after being hit by a vehicle.
PD Ghost, had been a serving police dog for nearly four years, and worked with Constable Bartley on numerous jobs including one recently whilst off duty where a man was detained for theft of a car in the St Helens area.
On one of their last shifts together PD Ghost and his handler, Constable Bartley, located a man who was hiding in a wooded area after a report of an incident in Norris Green and located a cash box from a taxi driver after it had been stolen from the cab.
Earlier this year Constable Bartley and Ghost were called to the area around Mather Avenue after reports of an aggravated burglary. Ghost managed to track a balaclava which had been buried under the roots of a tree and as a result of the DNA found on the balaclava two men were arrested.
In another incident in Huyton, Ghost also located the second occupant of a car which had been abandoned in Huyton following a police pursuit.
Constable Bartley is being supported by his colleagues at this sad time.
Dog Section Inspector Tony Byrne said: "When Ghost first joined the force he actually could not smell, which isn’t good for a police dog, and it was discovered that he had polyps in his nose. He also suffered a lot of damage to his tail and last year he had a torsion in his stomach and it was feared that we would have to retire him. It is rare for dogs to recover from things like this but he was big strong dog and came back from it.
“Our police dogs are highly valued members of our force, who work closely with their handlers, so as you can imagine this is extremely upsetting time for Ghost’s handler and our whole department.
“The dogs are an integral part of the force, who work day in, day out to assist in our fight against crime. Ghost and his handler were a prolific team and he was a much valued member of our team and will be sorely missed."
Merseyside's Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: "I feel desperately sorry for PD Ghost’s handler and for the whole team who worked with him.
"They should be proud of the commitment Ghost gave. He was part of the police family and I have no doubt will be sorely missed."
Image: Constable Dave Bartley with Ghost (right) and his second police dog Lucy, a Labrador