Two Met Police Dogs used their specially-trained skills to help find crucial evidence that helped to convict a sexual offender

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Nicky Paul Mitchell, 38, pleaded guilty to repeatedly breaching his Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) at Isleworth Crown Court on Friday, 18 December.

The court heard how Cocker Spaniel Police Dog (PD) Rhubarb and Labrador PD Jake, were just weeks into their operation roles when they were called in by Ealing’s Jigsaw team on 19 November.

They were needed to help find and identify digital evidence after a very high risk registered sex offender repeatedly breached his Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO).

Mitchell’s SHPO contained several prohibitions within it, one stating that he must declare any internet-enabled devices in his possession to his offender manager. Despite this, he had been found with undeclared devices on previous occasions.

Mitchell was also banned from using certain apps. Upon examination of devices he owned, it became apparent that he was using these apps and so, was in breach of his SHPO.

Officers had reason to believe that Mitchell might be concealing more devices at his address, as he had a history of doing so in the past.

With their handlers, PC’s Brett French and Chris Duffee, the dogs attended an address on Horsenden Lane South, UB6 On Thursday 19th November to assist officers from Ealing Jigsaw team with searching the property.

The dogs were able to use their specific training to sniff out digital electronics such as mobile phones, laptops and memory cards.

A total of nine items were found including:
– 1 x mobile phone
– 1 x Samsung tablet
– 1 x camcorder
– 3 x USB sticks
– 1 x small hard drive

Mitchell was arrested and taken to a police station to be questioned and was charged with six counts of breaching his Sexual Harm Prevention Order on Friday, 20 November.

Chief Superintendent Karen Findlay, who leads the Met’s Taskforce, said: “This is a brilliant result for both the dogs and their handlers, especially on their first operational search.

“It is a true testament to our dog school and dedication and hard work from both dogs and officers throughout their months of training, which has clearly paid off.”

PC Charlotte Elliott, who ran the investigation, said:  “Despite being issued with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, Mitchell has continued to breach it. He has previously concealed internet-enabled devices that he shouldn’t have in his possession.

“We had reason to believe that he could be concealing these items again, and without the support from the dog unit, the items would have been difficult to find. Instead, the dogs quickly and easily located them for us.

“This was a really successful operation which would not have happened if it wasn’t for all the different departments within the Met coming together. Without all the different skill sets pulled together, a very high risk and dangerous offender would not have been caught.

“Myself and my colleagues look forward to working closely with the dogs and of course their handlers again in the future.”

Mitchell will be sentenced at a later date.