Organised gangs suspected of dognappings
Police in Chichester warn of dog thieves operating in the area. Within a matters of days, two separate incidents were reported involving the theft of two springer spaniels and a cocker spaniel, and the second report involved three terriers and a cocker spaniel, from the same farm in Linchmere.
Sergeant Jon Chapman of Chichester District Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “We have been working closely with Hampshire Constabulary following a spate of similar dog thefts in Hampshire and are following a number of lines of enquiry which I am unable to discuss any further at this stage due to operational sensitivities.”
Dog theft, or dognapping as it is becoming known, has been steadily increasing since the late noughties, likely to be due to the economic downturn. Organised gangs are often thought to be behind the dog thefts, occurring all over the UK, and it’s suspected that pets have been the targets of many domestic burglaries. Several thousand dogs are being stolen every year and often sold on the black market using the internet.
Police are urging owners to heighten their security if their dogs sleep in yards or outside kennels. The breeds most at risk are working dog breeds like Labradors, Border Collies and Spaniels, even if the dog itself is not used as a working dog, as working is in their blood and they can still be used for breeding. Phillip Chaffey, gamekeeper at the Radbourne Estate in Derbyshire, said dogs going missing was “a growing problem” and added “They can be worth anything from a few hundred to a few thousand. They’re not always used for working, but it’s in the blood, so they could just be used for breeding.”
But it’s not only working dogs being peculated. Earlier this month a Pug was stolen during a house burglary in Crouch End, North London. Following appeals to help track down the stolen dog on Twitter from celebrities including Jonathan Ross, Joanna Page and Bianca Jagger, Molly the pug was found abandoned in an Enfield park.
Anyone who is concerned about the thefts of working dogs, or other animals safety, or would like to talk about any aspect of crime prevention, should contact us; we have many solutions and will be happy to give free advice.
Officers are appealing for anyone with information regarding the Chichester thefts, or anyone who saw anyone acting suspiciously in the Linchmere area prior to the thefts on Friday 11th and Monday 14th of January to contact Sussex Police on 101 quoting serial 168 of 15/1 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.