A bid by thieves to run and hide from the police after a crime in Bognor Regis was foiled by a dog.
Three men have been convicted after they stole a large number of gas canisters from a Lidsey caravan park.
Police were alerted to the incident at The Willows, in Lidsey Road, around 2am on October 1. It was reported three people were loading the items into a white Ford Transit van. The vehicle was said to have made off towards Bognor Regis.
It was seen by local police officers less than 10 minutes later and pursued on to the A259 viaduct towards Felpham.
The van pulled over and all three occupants ran into the countryside. One suspect was soon detained.
To help to find the other two, PC Anthony Oliver, of the Sussex Police dog unit was called and he arrived at about 2.30pm. He deployed Goose, a German Shepherd, who found the two other suspects hiding in vegetation.
PC Oliver said: “This case should serve as a reminder to people that you can run, but you can’t hide. And, when it comes to tracking a suspect, there is no better piece of equipment than a trained dog’s nose.”
The three – Billy Love, 20, of Blindley Heath, Surrey; Charles Wakeford, 22, of no fixed address; and Robert Giles, 20, of Lingfield, Surrey – were charged with the theft of 22 full gas bottles and six empty bottles with a total value of some £1,419. All were recovered.
They were each given a 12 month community order to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work. They were also ordered to pay £50 costs and a £90 victim surcharge.