A SUSPECTED criminal was tracked down by a police dog - after lighting a cigarette while hiding in a bush.

Officers were called to reports of a man bleeding but were unsure which direction the suspect had fled in.

It was dark when police arrived on the scene in Pelham Rise, Peacehaven, at 8.40pm on Monday October 11.

However, a flicker of light was seen in a field about 200 metres away - and a police dog was dispatched.

With the help of Hox the police dog, officers tracked down the suspect, believed to have sparked up while hiding.

The Argus: Police dog Hox Police dog Hox

Police Constable Gareth Evers, the handler for the two-year-old German Shepherd, said the dog was vital in tracking down the suspect.

“I was well briefed by the officers on scene, and although the exact route taken by the suspects was unknown, a flicker of light was seen about 200 metres into the field.

“I kept Hox deployed on a lead because the search area was far too great and progress through a ploughed field was slow,” PC Evers said.

“Hox began to track naturally and took me through to a small clearing in the bushes, over a barbed wire fence and into a neighbouring field.

“He then indicated to me where the suspect was. It was pitch black, but we found a suspect sitting in high grass.”

As a result of the search, police located and charged James Graves with two counts of causing criminal damage, theft in a dwelling, and assault by beating.

The 26-year-old, of Central Avenue, Telscombe Cliffs, appeared before Brighton Magistrates’ Court on October 13.

He was remanded on conditional bail to appear before the court again on December 7.