A police dog run over by a vehicle while trying to track down intruders in St Helens has died.
Merseyside Police dog Ghost was searching for offenders who had entered premises in Southworth Road, Newton-le-Willows, in the early hours of Tuesday.
Police said the three-year-old German shepherd was found shortly afterwards on the M6 nearby with traumatic injuries after being hit by a vehicle.
His handler PC Dave Bartley was said by police to be “extremely upset”.
Police said no vehicles stopped at the scene where Ghost was found.
Ghost had been a serving police dog for most of his three years and worked with PC Bartley on numerous jobs.
He recently helped apprehend a car thief in St Helens while off duty.
On one of the pair’s last shifts together Ghost and PC Bartley found a man hiding in a wood after a report of an incident in Norris Green and also located a cash box stolen from a taxi driver.
Police said earlier this year they were called to an aggravated burglary in Mather Avenue, St Helens.
Ghost discovered a balaclava buried under a tree and the DNA on it led to the arrests of two men.
Ghost also located an occupant of a car which had been abandoned in Huyton following a police pursuit.
Insp Tony Byrne said he feared Ghost would have to be retired after suffering a lot of damage to his tail and a torsion in his stomach last year.
“It is rare for dogs to recover from things like this but he was big strong dog and came back from it.”
He added: “Ghost and his handler were a prolific team and he was a much valued member of our team and will be sorely missed.”