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Tails wagged this morning as a £5,000 cheque was presented to the K9 Fire Investigation dog team which is helping Humberside Fire and Rescue Service ‘sniff out’ cases of deliberate ignition and engage more with the community.

The High Sheriff of East Yorkshire, Jim Dick OBE DL, and Trust Director Paul Cheeseman visited Humberside Fire and Rescue Service Headquarters to meet Firefighters Mike Shooter and John Willingham of K9 Fire Investigation and their two dogs Etta and Aston. Also in attendance was Chris Blacksell, Deputy Chief Fire Officer. Mike and John were presented with a cheque for £5,000 which will be used to allow them to carry out community safety work with Etta and Aston.

K9 Fire Investigation (K9FI) was set up by Mike and John in 2014 as a community interest (not for profit) company (CIC). Etta, a black Labrador and Aston an English Springer-Spaniel have successfully completed the six week Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Fire Investigation Dog Course. The purpose of K9FI is to provide Humberside Fire and Rescue Service with fire investigation dogs to assist with arson detection

Fire investigation dogs can rapidly detect accelerants, such as petrol, often several days after a fire. Consequently they can help save significant sums of money that might otherwise be spent on specialist investigators and forensic testing costs. The dogs also serve as a community safety asset by engaging with members of the community to raise awareness of fire safety issues and prevent fires occurring in the first place. It is also felt that it is important to show that Humberside Fire and Rescue Service are proactively investigating the cause of the fire and seeking to ensure arsonists are prosecuted

Commenting on the grant made by the High Sheriffs’ and Humberside Police Tribune Trust, Mike and John said:

‘We are very grateful to the Tribune Trust for their support, it will enable us to take a more active role with the dogs in providing valuable fire safety and arson awareness education to more schools and community groups whilst still carrying out our fire investigation duties with Aston and Etta.’

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Chris Blacksell is equally grateful for the Trust’s generosity:

‘I am delighted that the great work that Mike and John do with Etta and Aston in helping us establish the cause of fire can now be extended to proactive community safety work to try and reduce arson and other causes of fire. I’m extremely grateful to the Tribune Trust for funding what I think will be a vital service.”

Paul Cheeseman, Director of the Tribune Trust said:

“We are delighted to be supporting the work of K9 Fire Investigation. Mike and John deserve credit for the initiative they have shown in setting up a community interest company and putting such a huge amount of effort into training Aston and Etta. The work they are doing will make a big difference in reducing and solving arson and making our communities safer places. The Trust wishes them and Humberside Fire and Rescue Service every success with this initiative”

• For more information about the work of the Tribune Trust please visit or contact the Director Paul Cheeseman at or telephone 01430 828642 or 07875 567953
• For more information about the work of K9 Fire Investigation please visit K9 fire investigation on facebook or K9fi@shooter724 on twitter, or email or mobile 07973 445683.
• The Tribune Trust is an endowment fund registered with the Charities Commission. The Trustees are local people including former, current and future High Sheriffs, the Chief Constable of Humberside Police, the Chief Fire Officer of Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, business and public sector leaders. The Trust provides small grants for community projects established to tackle crime and disorder when such projects are not supported by mainstream funding or when they require additional financial support.