Police dog finds missing woman

Joseph Bulmer

Freezing patient found outside Barnstaple church

A POLICE dog helped its handler track down a missing woman who spent the night outside a Barnstaple church.

The 21-year-old woman was already suffering from the onset of hyperthermia after spending the night in freezing conditions outside St Paul’s Church, in Sticklepath.

The “high risk” patient was reported missing from North Devon District Hospital at around 8pm and called the hospital at 5am the following day to say she was somewhere near a church and a college.

She was soon found by German shepherd Vinni and handler PC Lee Adamson, who began a foot search the Sticklepath Hill area.

“Upon reaching the rear of the St Paul’s Church grounds, Vinni immediately showed interest in the area,” said PC Adamson.

“While on the lead put his nose to the floor and tracked along the footpath to an open grassed area which was unlit and located the female lying in the grass.

“She was inappropriately dressed for the weather conditions and paramedics were called and stated the onset of hyperthermia had started.”

Tony Jordon, police dog training manager, said: “This was an excellent job which had the potential to be far more serious if she had not been found.”