Watch: burglars jailed after police dog finds them hiding in scrap yard
One of our police dogs sniffed out two burglars hiding in a huge scrap metal yard – now the pair and two fellow thieves have been jailed.
PD Pancho and handler PC Dan Benton were called to Anchor Road, Wolverhampton, in the early hours of 11 November last year following the pursuit of a stolen car.
Driver Morgan McTaggart (20) and 18-year-old Ashley Greatrex were quickly arrested near the abandoned Ford Fiesta but brothers Callum and Jamie Hopson ran off.
They scaled metal fencing to the compound where they tried lying low among the scrapped vehicles – but they hadn’t counted on the sniffing skills of PD Pancho!
She searched through the rows of stacked vehicles before jumping up on the bonnet of one car and signalling to PC Benton that someone was inside.
Callum Hopson emerged moments later and whimpered to officers for leniency, claiming he was a child aged just 13. We would later discover he was a 20-year-old man with a string of arrests to his name.
His 26-year-old brother Jamie also crawled from his hiding place knowing it was only a matter of time before Pancho notched up another find.
Earlier that morning the gang forced open shutters at Kings Newsagents in Willenhall, and made off with more than £1,000 worth of tobacco plus alcohol and cash.
One of our patrol units picked up the Fiesta – stolen from Murdock Drive, Kingswinford four days earlier – in Sedgley town centre shortly after the break-in.
Disqualified driver McTaggart jumped red lights and reached speeds of 100mph in 30-zones as his passengers hurled stolen bottles of alcohol and tools at the response car.
At one stage McTaggart, from Stow Heath Lane, Wolverhampton, drove on the wrong side of a dual carriageway and thought he’d given his police pursuers the slip.
However, the officers’ local knowledge led them to the car’s dumping ground where they were arrested.
All four went on to admit the shop burglary.
McTaggart also admitted aggravated vehicle taking and driving while banned, while Jamie Hopson pleaded guilty to taking the Fiesta without consent and driving while disqualified.
And at Wolverhampton Crown Court on Monday (22 March) McTaggart was jailed for 34 months and Jamie Hopson, of no fixed address, imprisoned for 30 months.
Callum Hopson, from Vaughan Road, Wolverhampton, and Greatrex, from Lunt Road, Bilston were jailed for 27 months and 15 months respectively.
Pancho’s handler, PC Dan Benton, said: “She tracked a scent from the fencing into the yard. There must have been around 100 cars in there but she was paying particular attention to one row.
“I couldn’t see anything but she was insistent. Pancho jumped on the bonnet of one of the cars and started indicating at the door. That’s when I spotted a pair of legs sticking out from underneath a pile of car seats.
“It was all Pancho’s work… she sniffed them out."
The two-year-old Belgian Malinois is poignantly named after one of our former detective, DC Andrew Taylor, who sadly passed away in 2018. He was known as Pancho to his colleagues in West Midlands Police.