CUNNING police officers were able catch a car thief within 15 minutes.

The Essex Police Dog Section received reports that a car had been stole in Basildon at 11.38pm on Monday.

The section spotted the car nine minutes later, and followed it to Thurrock where the driver de-camped and fled.

However, Police Dog Tex was able to catch the fleeing driver and detain him.

In total, less than 15 minutes passed from the car being stolen to the suspect being arrested.

A spokesman for the unit said: “It was 14 minutes from theft to arrest and vehicle recovered safe and well.”