A TEENAGER has lost his claim for damages after he was bitten by an award-winning police dog.

Bosko the German Shepherd was once voted Cleveland's top dog with his handler PC Mark Robson.

But yesterday, PC Robson was accused of using Bosco as a dangerous weapon after the dog bit a 14-year-old newspaper boy on both arms.

Ian Dawson, now 17, of Coulby Newham, Middlesbrough, claimed damages in Middlesbrough County Court saying he had been assaulted when he was bitten in December 2000.

He said that he and a friend, Paul Gibson, 15, were looking around a dumped stolen car at 2am on the Grove Hill estate, in Middlesbrough, when PC Robson unleashed Bosko.

They ran off but Bosko caught him and he was treated at Middlesbrough General Hospital for bites and scratches to his arms and back.

He was arrested on suspicion of vehicle taking, but was never charged.

PC Robson said: "If the boy had stopped when I shouted, the dog would have sat in front of him and barked until I arrived.

"You can't teach a dog to bite softly, but he will bite in a certain way.

"If you were to lie still the dog would release you. If the person is fighting the dog tends to hold tight so as not to lose the prey."