A SCOTTISH charity's "hero" rat has been saving lives in Cambodia by sniffing out landmines for a whole year.

Ronin was gifted to Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA) last Christmas by a trust which has been supporting the air ambulance since 2016 - and in his first year on the team,  he has proved he’s every bit as heroic as his adoptive sponsors.

The programme is ran by Belgian charity APOPO that trains animals, called "HeroRATs" and "HeroDOGs", to detect landmines and tuberculosis in over 60 countries.

The SCAA team has sent Ronin a pet bandana for Christmas so he can wear the tartan accessory and "know he’s got a crew of airborne fans backing him here" in Scotland.

The National:

SCAA Grants and Trusts Officer Kathryn Cooper said the trust donating the quirky gift wished to remain anonymous but was happy to explain why it had selected a HeroRAT for SCAA.

Cooper said: “They explained that 'heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and we thought that the heroes of SCAA would like to meet HeroRat Ronin!'

“It proved a popular and perfect gift as the crews take a keen interest in Ronin’s life-saving work in Cambodia through monthly updates.

“He’s very much an honorary member of the team now and after watching him on the frontline for a year, we’re all real fans and full of admiration. There’s real affection for our little hero.”

READ MORE: The Scottish pub named among the UK's cosiest by The Good Food Guide

Since four-year-old Ronin took up the task in SCAA’s name a year ago, he has identified 36 landmines, three pieces of unexploded ordnance and cleared nearly 60,000 square metres of land.

Every month APOPO sends the team an update on Ronin’s achievements which is passed on to the crews at their Aberdeen and Perth bases.

Cooper added: “We’re told he doesn't need a lot of specialized care and works for food rewards, rather than being motivated by one person, so he can work with different handlers when necessary.

"Most importantly, he's too light to set off landmines, making it safe for him to walk over them. And because he's small, it's easy to take him to all the different places where he's needed.

“Cambodia remains one of the most mine-affected countries in the world and Ronin’s contribution makes everyone at SCAA feel very proud."

Ronin is also currently up for adoption.