CANINE heroes Tyke and Max are hanging up their Wiltshire Police leads after spending 15 years between them keeping the county safe.

Tyke saved handler PC Cindy Hargreave during an illegal rave when a man charged at her with a barrel full of petrol while she was tackling another man armed with an iron bar.

She said: “Tyke saw the danger before I did and he deployed onto the man’s arm, bringing him to the ground and holding him there until a support team arrived. He really did prevent me from receiving a very serious injury. Tyke was the best team mate and partner I could ever have wished for.”

“During my first shift with him, we were lucky to get an early result as we attended a report of a burglary in progress at a pub in Swindon where two men had been seen leaving the back of the pub and into woodland.

“I deployed Tyke for a straight chase and he secured one man some distance away. The man was arrested by officers and while we headed back to the pub for a search, Tyke dragged me into the undergrowth and started growling because he’d found the second offender.”

He will continue living with PC Hargreave while she starts training with a new puppy called Betty.

She added: “Tyke is full of character. He’s goofy as well as being tenacious, he has the ability to be sociable but always switched nicely to being a police dog when required.

“He was a driven, determined and strong willed police dog, but most of all just wanted to please and work -something which, now he’s retired, is not sitting well with him, especially when he has to stay at home when I go to work, but the welcome I get when I return home is the best.

Max had a long and glittering career - including finding criminals involved in a series of Swindon burglaries. He received two awards after his skills helped locate suspects.

PC Tracy Doughty, who became his handler when he was four and who is now training puppy Rudi, said: “Max has a very strong presence. He’s a big boy with a few battle scars and a very big mouth, his bark is felt deep in your stomach. He has been challenging to work with but he’s a big softy really and I’ll miss his verbal opinion.

“During my first shift with Max we had a report of two men decamping from a car in Swindon. We attended and Max got on the scent straight away. Both men ran and Max chased one who sensibly gave up. The second man evaded us for a while but we found all the property he had dumped and then eventually found him. He will remain living with me and he is already loving being inside on the sofa. He’s looked after me, so it’s up to me now to do the same for him.”

Betty and Rudi will be out and about around Wiltshire once they gain their licences.