Dog owners in Suffolk warned after thefts in neighbouring counties

Four dogs, Roe, Bear, Boss and Viktor have been stolen from a family's home in Thorrington. Picture: ABBY WRIGHT

Four dogs, Roe, Bear, Boss and Viktor have been stolen from a family's home in Thorrington. Picture: ABBY WRIGHT


Dog owners in Suffolk are being warned not to get complacent by a senior rural police officer following more thefts in neighbouring counties.

Sgt Brian Calver has warned dog owners to remain vigilant Picture: SARAH CHAMBERSSgt Brian Calver has warned dog owners to remain vigilant Picture: SARAH CHAMBERS

Sergeant Brian Calver, from Suffolk Constabulary’s rural crime team, was speaking after two incidents of dog thefts in Essex and Bedfordshire on the same day.

A family from Thorrington in Essex were left devastated after four of their working dogs were stolen from their home between 3.30pm and 6.30pm on Sunday, September 13.

Meanwhile in Bedfordshire, eight dogs, worth around £50,000, were taken from a kennels in Wilden after thieves scaled a 12-foot fence on Sunday night.

MORE: Family’s heartbreak as four dogs stolen from home

Suffolk’s rural crime team issued a warning via its Twitter feed for people to “stay alert” as the “menace is still clearly ongoing”.

Sgt Calver said: “I don’t want to scare people but I thought I’d rather get the message out there just to warn people that this hasn’t gone away and to remain vigilant because it’s so easy to get complacent when things quieten down.

“Everyone locks everything up when things are happening and then everything slowly slips back into that phase where people are a little more complacent. It’s human nature.”

Suffolk has seen its share of incidents in recent months, including the theft of 17 dogs and puppies from a kennels in Barton Mills in July.

Sgt Calver said he wasn’t aware of any more confirmed thefts in Suffolk but dog owners, particularly those who have spaniels, need to remain vigilant.

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“So much of this going on nationally and the amount of people that are involved in this, they all talk to each other and are well versed in organised criminality,” he added.

“They’ve got so many connections. We know from intelligence that stuff gets swapped over from one end of the country to another.

“There’s also been intelligence that microchips are being cut out of the dogs to frustrate identification which is sick in itself.

“Spaniels still seem to be the favourites. A good working spaniel fetches a very high price and they know it.”

MORE: Police still hunting ‘vile’ dog thieves

Sgt Calver urged people to take photographs of their dogs to aid identification.

“We have recovered one recently which we’ve struggled to identify. We’re very confident it’s stolen but proving it is another matter,” he added.

“So we’d urge people who have got dogs to make sure you’ve got decent photographs of any identifying features.

“Because that could well be key to identifying a dog if the chip’s been removed from it.

“One of the key messages I keep trying to get across to people, is make sure you purchase a dog from an authorised licensed dealer.

“People who are buying dogs on the quiet from illicit breeders are just fuelling it and making it worse.”

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