Police have saved six tiny, blind cocker spaniel puppies moments before a driver was going to dump them in a plastic bag at the roadside.
The litter were saved from certain death by two quick-thinking officers, whose actions led to the puppies’ parents being taken to safety.
Pcs Liam Venon and Luke Howie were driving in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, in the early hours of Saturday when they spotted a suspicious parked car on the A689.
The officers put on their blue lights and parked behind the vehicle and saw the man throw the bag on to the passenger seat and then pretend to check one of his tyres.
The Pcs could hear squealing coming from the bag and, when they checked inside, there were six, black five-day-old puppies who were so young their eyes had not opened yet.
The man, in his 50s, was arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty, money laundering and trafficking in a controlled drug and taken into custody.
He has since been released on bail while enquiries continue.
All six puppies are making a full recovery at a local vets and will soon be fostered.
The puppies’ parents have also been rescued from his address.
Pc Vernon said: “The puppies were riddled with fleas and if we’d have passed just seconds before, we would have been none the wiser.
“Both myself and Luke are huge dog lovers, so it has been one of those jobs which has really stuck with us, we’ve hardly stopped thinking about it but are just glad to have saved them – it really was right place, right time.”