AN OLYMPIC hero who also kept crowds safe at the Champions League final in Cardiff and the Commonwealth Games in Scotland has retired to his home in South Somerset.

Black Labrador Paddy has been working for Avon and Somerset Police as an explosive detection dog for the past 55 dog years.

Police Dog Paddy marked the occasion by writing a column, with the aid of his handler Sgt Denis McCoy, recalling his action-filled years of service.

Paddy was gifted to the police at 11 months and went to the force’s training facility to be evaluated for suitability.

PD Paddy’s column said: “I must have done fairly well as a friendly officer came and visited me with treats in his pocket and plenty of tickles and fuss.

“This same officer, after 30 mins of play, took me with him and I’ve been his partner and friend for the last 55 dog years.

“I flew through my initial course which lasted eight weeks. This was eight weeks of fun.

“It was really a simple game of hide and seek, and the course instructors would spend most of their time teaching me to smell a number of substances then try to trick me and my handler by hiding them from us.

“They did this in lots of ways and places but with my nose and the occasional bit of help from my handler, we always won.”

During his service, PD Paddy has been called to assist in every country of the United Kingdom.

He has worked across Somerset too, being called to large shopping malls, airports and ports, on aircrafts and in ships.

PD Paddy’s piece added: “During the Olympics in 2012 I made sure, along with other dog teams, that it was safe for both athletes and spectators alike.

“In 2013 whilst deployed to the Police Service of Northern Ireland, I was awarded a recognition award for working in a high threat environment for a number of weeks.

“With an increase in threat to large crowded areas, I’ve also worked at the Commonwealth games in Scotland, the Champions League final in Wales and many other sporting events.”

Paddy is now going to retire to live with Sgt McCoy, with PD Murphy taking over his watch.

Sgt McCoy said: “Paddy has been such a character in all the years we have worked together, he has been an absolute pleasure to have as a partner and friend.

“He has carried out numerous searches both locally and nationally to keep members of the public safe and secure.

“Paddy is retiring at home with myself and will be enjoying putting his paws up in front of the fire.”

One of PD Paddy’s scariest moments came while searching the Theatre Royal in Bath on the day of a royal visit.

His column said: “I was searching the Theatre Royal in Bath as a member of the royal family visited that day.

“As I was searching the second floor my handler opened a door to the upper box and indicated with his hand to go in.

“In my defence, it looked very like the up/jump command he does so I did just that and jumped over the balcony.

“As I hurtled through the air I heard a stunned gasp from the dignities gathered on the stage, a loud pained ‘no’ from my handler fading in the distance behind me.

“I luckily landed on the walkway between the stalls seating.

“As I continued to carry out my search of the seating areas, I saw behind me my handler leaning over the upper box who appeared to me to look very ill with a pained look on his face, which by this time looked extremely pale.”

PD Paddy was rushed to the vets, but was quickly given a clean bill of health.

After a couple of days of rest he was allowed to return to work to carry out the rest of his service.

Sgt McCoy will now be working with Police Dog Murphy, who became qualified last month.