Four officers were assaulted while arresting a man in Swindon after investigating reports of someone interfering with parked vehicles.

Wiltshire Police staff then received racial abuse and death threats when the suspect was taken into custody.

Police searched Burford Avenue after being called to the scene around 4am on Friday. Their police dog Conan found a man hiding under a lorry who had sunglasses, mobile phones and a wallet that are all believed to have been stolen.

One officer was grabbed on the arm and three others were spat at while trying to handcuff the hiding 40-year-old from Swindon.

He kept spitting while being transported to custody at Gablecross in a police van, then racially abused a member of staff and made threats to kill another.

He has been arrested on suspicion of vehicle interference, theft from a vehicle, four counts of assaulting an emergency worker, two counts of criminal damage, one racially aggravated public order offence, and threats to kill.

He remains in custody at Gablecross for questioning.

Dog section manager Ian Partington said: “This type of incident is exactly what our police dogs are trained for.

PD Conan is a recently qualified addition to our team but has wasted no time in making his mark.

"He was able to quickly pick up a scent in the area and locate a man hiding under a lorry who may have otherwise gone unnoticed by a human nose.

"We are grateful to the vigilant member of the public who initially reported their concerns regarding the activity in Burford Avenue, which enabled us to locate and arrest this man.

"However, being assaulted, spat at and verbally abused is not part of a police officer’s job and should never be seen as such.”

Police are urging anyone who suspects that items have been stolen their vehicles but have not yet reported it to get in touch and report the items as stolen.

While officers searched the street during their early-hours investigation, they found a mountain bike that they suspect has been stolen.

Anyone who thinks this might be theirs should call 101 and give a description of the bike to prove that it is the one police found.