Brewster, the longest serving police dog in the UK whose "incredible nose" detected drugs, cash and weapons across the country, has died after a brief illness following 11 years of service.

The 13-year-old, 91 in dog years, brown and white English Springer Spaniel, served with the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Dog Unit with his handler Police Constable Dave Pert.

But just months after formally hanging up his lead, the police pooch has passed away following a short illness, the Daily Express reported.

"We are so grateful that Brewster came into our lives. He was truly a legendary dog, renowned across the three counties for his incredible nose," Pert said while paying tributes to his long-term companion.

"Indeed, officers were still requesting his services long after he retired. He was a brilliant asset to the unit and I am glad he had time with us to enjoy his retirement," he said.

Pert said he loved coming with them in the caravan and particularly enjoyed people watching.

"Thankfully his illness was brief, but we will miss him terribly as he was a huge part of our lives," he said.

Brewster was gifted to the police after his previous owners from North Yorkshire realised he had too much energy for them.

Within three weeks of earning his stripes, the naturally inquisitive canine was fully trained and licensed as a drugs, cash and weapons detection dog.

The Spaniel, who had two different coloured eyes, began active service in August 2005 and stayed on patrol with Pert up until his retirement.

Brewster was one of the most well-known dogs from the unit, having worked across the three counties and beyond, providing mutual aid to other police forces including Norfolk and Suffolk.

His specialist nose, which was trained to detect various types of drugs in vehicles, buildings and open spaces, helped to successfully locate items that may have had otherwise been missed due to how well they had been hidden.

Brewster also took part in multi-agency operations at service stations on key roads including the M1 and M25, playing his part in stopping the transport of illegal drugs and cash.

He also enjoyed all his favourite past-times such as chasing tennis balls, swimming in rivers, eating dog treats and napping.

General purpose dogs tend to retire after about seven years but smaller search dogs, like Brewster, can usually serve for about nine years.