A POLICE dog famed for his fearsome looks and outstanding success on the front-line has retired.

PD Zorro has been suffering with a niggling injury and a recent X-ray confirmed considerable damage to a cruciate knee ligament.

The all-black German shepherd, born in the Czech Republic before being acquired by Lancashire Police from a specialist trainer in 2018, has been regularly lauded for his exceptional performance in catching crooks.

Zorro’s handler, PC David Lees, said: “He’s been going to the vets for the last six months as it looked like he’d just slowed up a bit. We kept an eye on him and he was X-rayed recently which showed that his cruciate is damaged.

“If he continued working, even after surgery, we were told it could snap at some point because of the nature of his work.

“In the interests of animal welfare, rather than run him into the ground and him be in agony – we’ve had such a good three years, it was just the best thing for him to retire.”

Zorro’s retirement is considered ‘early’, with most German shepherd police dogs serving around seven years all being well.

PC Lees touched on some of his favourite moments from PD Zorro’s illustrious career, with the pair solving all kinds of cases from burglaries to missing persons.

“My highlight would probably have to be a missing person's case we did a couple of years ago.

“We don’t appeal for things like that on Facebook for someone who’s very vulnerable, but Zorro found the person and in turn won us a Dog Deployment of the Year award.

“He’s detained lots and lots of burglars in East Lancashire, he’s done great work at the football and the last job he did two days before his retirement was a vehicle under suspicious circumstances in Bacup.

“The vehicle failed to stop, there was a pursuit and two suspects ran off – Zorro managed to detain them both!”

Police have already been inundated with requests to rehome the legendary hound.