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RSPCA warns to check doorknockers’ ID after reports of hoax callers in Suffolk

Police would like to hear from witnesses.
 Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Police would like to hear from witnesses. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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The RSPCA has warned its staff will always carry identification amid reports that hoax callers claiming to be inspectors from the animal charity have been knocking on doors in the Ipswich and Sudbury areas.

It comes as charity Lost Dog reports a ‘significant rise’ in the number of the reported dog thefts in Suffolk and Norfolk.

However the charity say the rise is ‘just the tip of the iceberg’ as most dog thefts go unreported or are mistaken as the animal running away.

Suffolk police received reports of doorknockers in the Bramford Lane and Richmond Road areas of Ipswich on February 6 and 7 and in Keiffer Close and Bantocks Road in Great Waldingfield, near Sudbury, on February 7, claiming to be representing the RSPCA.

Officers attended each incident and concluded three were not suspicious. However, they are keen to speak to anyone with information about two people who knocked on doors in Richmond Road at around 8pm on February 7. According to a spokeswoman, a white woman with a ponytail and a black man wearing a cap and dark clothing, both in their 20s, said they were visiting homes to warn people about a recent spate in dog thefts.

“We would be interested in receiving any information from people in the Richmond Road area that may have been approached by this man and a woman knocking on doors,” she said.

PC Nathan Hails from Ipswich Central SNT added: “We would advise residents to be vigilant and be wary of anyone who calls unannounced and cannot provide credible identity documents.”

Helen Jermy, east regional coordinator at Dog Lost, warned residents to be vigilant.

“The first thing to do is ask them for identification, she said.

“Then if you do have your dog stolen, make sure to get a crime reference number from the police so that the theft can be logged.

“We have noticed a significant rise in the number of dog thefts recently.

“There is no end of dogs being stolen, it is just everywhere.”

A spokeswoman for the RSPCA said: “We would like to reassure the public that any representative from the RSPCA will always be happy to show you their official ID card proving their identity.

“Anyone who has suspicions about a caller at their door that cannot provide ID is urged not allow access to their property or animals and to contact the police.”

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