POLICE are warning pet owners to be on their guard after a rise in “dog-napping”.
All ages of dogs are being targeted, officers said, with animal lovers sometimes asked if they wanted to “sell” their pet.
PCSO Paul Newman said: “This obviously is a scam.
“Please be aware that sending young children out with their pets can also be risky, and make sure whoever takes out the animal is in complete control of it.
“If you let you dog loose in the grounds of your property, make sure it is safe and no one can take it away.”
A police spokeswoman added: “The issue of reported dog thefts is a national one, but the key is that individuals must report suspicious behaviour or dog thefts to police so that we can better understand this type of crime, where it’s happening and undertake enquiries to identify those responsible.
“We are aware of lots of anecdotal information on social media, but very few incidents if any have been reported to police.
“Please contact us if you do have any information about this type of crime. You can report this via 101 or contact us online.”
Last year, the organisation Dog Lost called 2020 the “worst ever year” for dog theft, while Dogs Today magazine said a rise in the price of pets had sparked a surge in animals being stolen.