Meet the volunteer reuniting lost pets with owners across Nottinghamshire

Phil reunites a dog with its owner after a house fire. Credit: Phil James Drone Services on Facebook.

A Woodborough volunteer who reunites lost pets with their owners has raised money for a thermal imaging drone, which will help him to find missing animals more efficiently.

Phil James, 45, has reunited 12 missing pets with their owners so far this year, including a skunk.

Drone flying started off as a hobby for Phil, but he soon became a licenced operator after qualifying in January. He now works full-time capturing drone footage for construction companies and local authorities.

Phil went on to set up a group of search and rescue volunteers in the city via Whatsapp.

He offers his drone and rescue services for free.

Phil James. Credit: Natalie James.

He said: “We have 45 volunteers in the group, so if I can’t go straight away to see someone, I’m still taking proactive action.

“I’ll ask if any volunteers are available to assist until I can help after work.”

Phil, a retired police officer, had previously raised money to buy walkie talkies for volunteers.

Now, he has raised £2,500 towards a thermal imaging drone, which he also plans on using to assist the police in missing people’s cases.

Walkie talkie and volunteers kits. Credit: Phil James.

When Phoebe Patterson’s dog, Peanut, went missing earlier this year, she was distraught.

Something spooked the Papillion mix, which led him to escape from the back garden.

Phoebe, 25, from the city centre, posted about Peanut on a drone search and rescue Facebook page. From there, Phil contacted her and deployed his team of volunteers.

Peanut. Credit: Phoebe Patterson.

Peanut, a rescue dog from Vietnam, was thought to be wandering in and out of allotments in Saint Ann’s; he was reportedly seen by a member of the public in a nearby garden.

Phil attempted to use his drone over the allotments but as the area was so dense, he couldn’t see anything.

Fortunately, Peanut was eventually apprehended not far from the area.

Phoebe said: “Those were the worst two days of my life. It was awful.

“But Phil kept us really positive and was so reassuring.

“We couldn’t have found Peanut without him and Phil stuck with us, walking around the allotments day and night.”

A map showing where pets have gone missing from.

If Phil had access to a thermal drone, Peanut could have been found even sooner.

He said: “With a thermal drone, you can search three square miles in 30 minutes and it will detect anything at a certain temperature.

“So it will help massively, especially in rural areas, which is where most dogs tend to go.”

Keep updated with Phil via his Facebook page.




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