Meet Midge - the Northern Gas engineer who always nose best
Midge the spaniel is the newest, and by far the cutest, engineer working on the streets of the North East.
The police-trained sniffer dog is employed by Northern Gas Networks and sniffs out gas leaks.
Midge has used his uncanny sense of smell to sniff out leaks in Morpeth, Newcastle, Darlington and South Shields and other areas.
By finding the source of a gas leak, Midge prevents engineers from having to dig exploratory holes, which take time and cause traffic delays.
Midge helped out on Newcastle Road in Sunderland, on a long stretch of road just outside the greyhound race track.
Mark Watson, Northern Gas Networks engineer said: "Midge must have felt right at home working outside the dog track, because he found lots of low gas readings, which indicated that there were several leaks. We ended up replacing the full length of the pipe. He was a star.”
Northern Gas Networks engineer Alan Walker recently used Midge after water found its way into a gas main on Estoril Street, Darlington causing low gas pressure to homes.
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Alan said: "We brought Midge in, and he found the source of the problem almost immediately, allowing us to dig down and get the water out of the gas pipe.
"It's fair to say we were all a bit sceptical at first, but now we've seen Midge in action, we are believers! We've made him a fully-fledged member of the team, and are looking forward to working with him on future jobs."
Northern Gas Networks Site Manger, Dean Fuller, recently rang for Midge on the dog and bone to sniff out a gas leak at Highmoor, Morpeth.
Dean said: "It was a recurring leak that we had been struggling to pinpoint for several weeks. We'd been having to use a lot of people power to monitor gas levels, and make sure everything was safe. We decided to try Midge, and couldn't believe it when he found the leak right away. He went to it like he was laser guided."
Midge’s handler, Steve Foster, a former police dog handler, said: “Dogs have an incredible sense of smell, believed to be around 5,000 times better than humans.
“Midge loves working with Northern Gas Networks, and is out on the network almost every week, helping the engineers to find and fix gas leaks.”
Northern Gas Networks keep 2.7 million homes and businesses cooking on gas, through a vast underground pipe network and works to develop green, sustainable energy solutions, fit for a low-carbon future.