Rise in Suffolk dog thefts a ‘huge concern’, says rural officer
- Credit: Archant
Suffolk’s top rural officer has warned the spike in dog and puppy thefts around the county is “a huge concern at the moment”.
Sergeant Brian Calver, from Suffolk police’s rural crime team, said organised crime groups have exploited a surge in demand for dogs and puppies due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Among the recent spate of incidents is the heartbreaking theft of 17 dogs and puppies from a boarding kennels in Barton Mills on July 9.
This led to police urging dog owners to review their security of any outdoor kennels.
MORE: 17 puppies and dogs stolen from kennels by ‘vile’ thievesSgt Calver said: “It’s a huge concern at the moment, no matter who you speak to, everyone is really concerned about this.
“We’ve had the one at Barton Mills, we’ve had a couple stolen down at Hundon, we’ve had them taken in the east of the county. A few weeks ago, there was some taken from Freckenham.
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“We know there are organised crime groups doing this around the region, and they are making big bucks out of it.”
Sgt Calver believes the coronavirus crisis has led to a greater demand for dogs and puppies and, in turn, a rise in prices.
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“I can only assume it’s due to the situation with Covid-19 when people have been at home, had extra time on their hands, doing more walking and thought to themselves, ‘why don’t we get a dog?’” he said.
“That demand has really ramped the price of puppies up and they are going for horrendously high prices at the moment.
“As a result of that, criminals have cottoned onto it and so we’re getting dogs stolen for breeding and puppies stolen just to sell on.
“We know that some of the dogs being stolen are just being sold on for inflated prices.”
MORE: Dog owners ‘on edge’ as mysterious white chalk markings appear outside homesSgt Calver urged people to do their homework before buying a dog or puppy.
“Sadly there are people out there who are daft enough to buy off people without doing their research and asking the right questions,” he added.
“Those people might think they’re getting a bargain but all they’re doing is fuelling it.
“Much like anybody buying stolen goods really, they really aren’t doing anything to help anyone.”
Anyone with information about dog theft can contact Suffolk police on 101.