A POLICE dog handler is in the clear after his dog seriously wounded an 10-year-old boy from Rowley Regis who was playing in his grandmother's garden.

Tom Cutbill had to undergo two skin graft operations and needed 20 stitches after the German shepherd, Belgian malinois cross bit him whilst chasing metal thieves in Oldbury last June.

This week the inquiry by West Midlands Police concluded the handler and his animal had adhered to national guidelines.

The investigation found the youngster had suffered a single bite wound and it was a "tragic incident.'

A police spokesman said: "The police investigation, which was supervised by the IPCC, is complete and found no misconduct or training issues.

"The dog and handler performed in accordance with national police guidelines and the investigation concluded this was a tragic accident.

"A dog bite expert assessed the injury and found it to be a single bite."

Both the officer and the dog, called Shadow, were allowed to stay on duty after the incident.

The force have admitted liability but have yet to pay out compensation as the young boy might still need further treatment.

A police spokesman said: "No settlement has been agreed at this stage due to the possibility of the boy requiring future medical treatment.

"The amount of compensation will be dictated by the level of treatment he may need."

The dog was on a leash when it bit Bleakhouse Primary School pupil Tom, who was playing on his bike, when the handler entered the private garden on Western Road chasing a suspect after a metal theft at Langley Green railway station.

At the time Chief Inspector Ian Marsh said: "This poor young boy has gone through an absolutely horrendous ordeal and my thoughts are with him and his family as he recovers from his injuries.

"We apologise unreservedly for what has happened."