There have been a number of dog thefts reported Suffolk wide over the past month or so and the Constabulary has issued crime reduction advice via the Suffolk Constabulary Facebook page and also through press releases.
Regarding the chalk marks, these have been reported widely on social media as part of the M.O. of the series of crimes, as well as cable ties being left at potential targeted properties. While it can’t be ruled out as a means of the offenders indicating a target, some have reportedly been left at properties which have not been targeted and some which have no pets. Some victims have also been targeted who have not reported any ‘markings’ being left.
Rest assured, Halesworth officers and our Safer Neighbourhood Team are fully briefed about these crimes and are actively targeting suspect vehicles and stop checking occupants. While we can’t guarantee we will be in Debenham as often as parishioners would probably like, we are proactively patrolling all our towns & villages. In addition, we now have a new proactive team of Officers newly based at Eye Police Station (part of the Hartismere Hospital site) whose role is to exclusively target suspects and their vehicles in our part of Suffolk. They are also assisting Halesworth based colleagues in the search for the offenders.
In Halesworth, local Officers recently had a positive result when they stop checked a vehicle in the town and found on-board two stolen dogs & a caged bird, all of which we have been able to return to their owners.
Please also be sure to report any suspicious vehicles or individuals if you see them using 999. Under the circumstances, it might be a crime being planned or taking place and use of the 999 system would be justified.
“Pet owners warned to be vigilant after a number of dog thefts this year
Suffolk Constabulary is warning pet owners to take extra care after seeing a number of dog thefts this year.
Sergeant Brian Calver said: "Organised crime groups are actively targeting addresses, with working breeds tending to be those that are favoured by criminals.
"The loss of any pet can be devastating to owners, with the added trauma of not knowing what sort of conditions the dog is being subjected to. We would advise dog owners to review security of any outdoor kennels."
There have been 12 confirmed cases where dogs have been stolen within the county this year, and Sgt Calver said all bar one of the incidents involved the theft of dogs that would be classed as working gun breeds.
Security measures to prevent thefts include good quality locks and lighting, while consideration should be given to CCTV and sensors as these offer an early alert to the presence of intruders.
Gardens should be well secured with fencing or hedges, while gates should be kept locked.
Owners are advised not to leave dogs out in open gardens and yards when they are not at home and, if possible, they should be brought into the house overnight.
Ensure your dog is chipped and, if neutered, mark the dog’s tag as such as this makes them less attractive to thieves that may want to steal them for breeding. When out walking, if you let your dog off the lead, don’t allow it to leave your sight.
Sgt Calver also advised dog owners to ensure they were not giving away personal details online.
He said: "Consider your security on social media and avoid giving away details that may highlight your address and the fact you have a dog which could be attractive to thieves.
"We would encourage you to be vigilant of suspicious persons seen around addresses, or any cold callers. Please report such activity, with descriptions of the individuals and their vehicles, as well as sharing those concerns on local watch groups."
Sgt Calver also urged owners of other pets to be wary of thieves, saying birds had been stolen too.
Anybody with any information regarding the theft of dogs or other pets is encouraged to contact Suffolk police via:
Crimestoppers – Contact the independent charity Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111, or via their online form: www.crimestoppers-uk.org
Phone – call 101
Please note in the event of an emergency you should always call 999.
General crime prevention advice can be found by visiting www.suffolk.police.uk/advice/crime-prevention-z