WEST Mercia Police has now confirmed it is using a civilian group that specialises in capturing dogs to help locate an 'at risk and dangerous' dog which escaped from Whitchurch.

The Staffordshire bull terrier cross is through to be on the loose in the Shrewsbury area after it went missing from the kennels on Monday, August 1, where it had been residing since July 16.

The animal was held there after an incident in which a police officer, an experienced dog handler, was bitten and needed hospital treatment for puncture wounds and thigh bruising, but he is now fully recovered.

Chief Inspector Tracy Ryan, from the Shropshire Command Team, said the dog will be equally scared of of those trying to approach it and urged people not to try to grab it but to call police on 999.

She said: ""This dog has been on the run for a few days now and it is likely that he is very scared and therefore his reactions will be unpredictable.

"The longer this goes on the more frightened he will become and the higher the risk."

Police was called in Shrewsbury by a member of the public, who reported an unattended dog had tried to attack a group of children, but he was then caught and brought to the kennels, where he escaped again.

Chief Inspector Ryan added: "We do not want to frighten members of the public but we do want to be very clear that if they try to approach the dog it could react aggressively and we do not want them to put themselves at risk.

"If you see the dog call 999 immediately so that we and our civilian experts can take appropriate action.

"We do not wish the dog harm but we have a duty to protect the public."

The civilian group, Canine Capture, and the police are now searching for the missing dog in order to ensure the safety of the community.