WHEN an elderly couple was reported missing late at night, it was a race against time to find them.
With midnight approaching and the husband and wife missing for over two hours, police feared there could have been a tragic outcome if the couple – in their 80s – were not found quickly.
Thanks to the swift work of a police dog and the use of the Pembrokeshire Rural Crime team’s 4×4, fields inaccessible to response vehicles could be quickly searched.
The couple was found with minor injuries, having fallen in a ditch.
Inspector Reuben Palin said: “This was a superb effort by all involved to find this elderly and vulnerable couple.
“The couple had not been seen for two hours, and we were searching in almost darkness from the start, making conditions difficult.
“The swift work of PD Rey allowed us to take the right direction in our search, and the capability of the rural team’s off-road vehicle was crucial in covering rural ground quickly. Without this asset, the outcome could have been very grave indeed.”
Dyfed-Powys Police received a call reporting the pair missing at just after 11pm on Thursday, July 16. Both suffer from dementia and had not been seen for nearly two hours.
Immediate searches began in the Haverfordwest area, with every available police unit dispatched to help.
Insp Palin said: “Our response to this report was immediate and large-scale. Given the ages of the couple and the fact it was already getting dark, it was urgent that they were found swiftly.
“Police dog Rey quickly found a piece of bedding and was able to track the scent into a field, giving us an indication which direction they had taken. However, he was unable to lead his handler further as there was livestock on a farm nearby and he lost the scent he was tracking.
“This is where the capabilities of the 4×4 came in.”
Dyfed-Powys Police’s rural crime teams have a number of off-road vehicles, allowing officers to reach areas regular response cars cannot access.
Thanks to his training as part of the Pembrokeshire Rural Crime Team, Sergeant Gerwyn Davies was able to use one of the 4x4s to search the surrounding fields.
He spotted the couple in a ditch at 12.30am, where the woman had fallen and hurt her back.
Emergency first aid was carried out by officers until an ambulance arrived. The pair were taken to hospital and are expected to make full recoveries.