A new recruit is helping to sniff out problems for a large company.
Denzel, a three-year-old springer spaniel, is being drafted into Northumbrian Water’s leakage detection team to help sniff out and locate leaks on the water company’s pipe network.
He has been through a rigorous training programme with his handlers Luke Jones and Ross Stephenson, of CAPE SPC.
They have also trained Denzel’s colleague Snipe, a two-year-old cocker spaniel.
Northumbrian Water network performance specialist Joe Butterfield said: “We are so excited to have Denzel as part of the team.
“We’ve seen so many stories where working dogs have produced results for the likes of the police and military that it would be foolish of us not to give this a try and to see if the technique can be applied to our supply area.”
He added: “We are always looking for new and innovative ways to save water and detect leaks and recruiting Denzel to the team is a fantastic example of this.”
Denzel’s handler Luke Jones 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 over the last six months.
“CAPE SPC is continually reviewing results and data with hopes to building a strong case study that evidences the benefits of this asset.”
Northumbrian Water has pledged to reduce leaks across its network by 15 per cent over the next few years through significant investment and an innovative approach.
It has recently launched an interactive online map so that customers can report leaks and track the progress of repairs at the touch of a button.
The company is also using satellite technology to detect leaks an unusual amounts of water on its network from space. This information is then passed on to technicians on the ground to investigate further.