Police dog on first shift finds missing mother and baby on Welsh mountain

A police dog on his first shift found a missing mother and baby near the edge of a steep ravine after they had spent the night outdoors.

Max, a newly licensed police dog, and his handler, PC Peter Lloyd of Dyfed-Powys police, helped to track down the woman and her one-year-old child in a remote location in the Welsh countryside.

The two-year-old German Shepherd cross was called into duty just before noon on 1 August, when officers received a call reporting the pair missing. The dog covered a significant distance to find the mother and child, eventually locating them at 1.30pm.

Insp Jonathan Rees-Jones said: “The woman had not been seen or spoken to for two days, which was out of character, and her phone wasn’t working, so naturally concern for her safety was high. Response officers, neighbourhood policing teams and specialist search officers were dispatched to her home, and inquiries were carried out to try to trace her steps.

“Thanks to excellent work between teams, the woman’s car was quickly found on a mountain road. Although this gave officers a location to search from, there was still a vast area to cover given the amount of time she had been missing.

“This is where PD Max’s tracking skills really came into play. Despite only recently becoming licensed, and on his first operational shift, he immediately commenced an open-area search.”

Officers, along with Brecon mountain rescue team and a police helicopter, searched the area, which included a small reservoir and woodland.

At about 1.30pm, Lloyd, guided by Max, spotted the missing woman waving for help near a steep ravine on the mountainside. She and her baby were helped down and checked over by a mountain rescue doctor and the ambulance service.

“They were safe, but cold, and appeared to have been in the area for a significant amount of time,” Rees-Jones said. “This was a fantastic coordinated and determined team effort from everyone involved, which no doubt ensured the safety of the mum and baby, who were at significant risk of harm.”

Lloyd joined the Dyfed-Powys police dog section in February and was on his first operational shift with Max. He said: “Max remained focused throughout the long search and he proved invaluable when he reacted to the call for help which resulted in us locating them.”