Has your dog been stolen? Police trying to return pets to their owners
- Credit: Suffolk Rural and Wildlife Policing
Police are currently in the process of identifying stolen dogs and returning them to their owners following joint police team operations.
Temporary superintendent Lou Provart highlighted the force's work over the last year which included arresting "key individuals" for dog thefts.
He said: "We're in the process of identifying a significant amount of recovered dogs back to their owners.
"Currently about five were identified going back to five crime scenes which is very helpful, so we have got two people on bail for offences - they come from Suffolk, so that's an important thing for the public to be aware of."
He said despite the challenges of Covid, policing continues as normal and praised officers for the work they have carried out through the course of "this difficult era for our communities."
A police spokesperson said police arrested two people in connection with a burglary in Hockwold on Thursday, February 11 following an incident earlier in the evening where a Border Collie dog and a number of doves were stolen from farm outbuildings in the village.
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The spokesperson added: "The stolen dog has since been recovered.
"A man aged in his 30s and a woman aged in her 20s were taken to Bury St Edmunds Police Investigation Centre for questioning. They have been released on police bail. Enquiries continue.
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"Further enquiries carried out by officers led to searches being carried out across the Ipswich area and a number of dogs were recovered. Enquiries are ongoing."
Suffolk Rural and Wildlife Policing tweeted that three stolen dogs were safely on their way home thanks to joint working with the Norfolk rural crime team, the Kestrel team and Ipswich officers.
The Dogs Trust said many dogs are taken from homes and gardens every year and is advising owners to make sure their gardens and homes are secure.
It said ensuring your dog is microchipped and keeping contact details up to date will give people the best chance of having your dog returned to you "if the worst happens."
Chief executive Owen Sharp, said: “Demand for dogs is at an all-time high but not only that, our research has shown that prices for some of the UK’s most desirable dog breeds are at their highest in three years, and possibly ever, with the costs for some dogs increasing month on month since lockdown began.
“Given the high demand for dogs and the increase in prices, it is no wonder criminals are taking advantage of the situation.
“Our dogs play such a huge and important part in our lives but sadly thousands are stolen each year, which is absolutely heartbreaking.
“Current sentencing does very little to deter thieves and does not take into consideration how devastating it can be to have your dog taken from you."
Mr Sharp said punishment for dog theft is determined by the monetary value of the dog and said the charity fully supports any action to introduce tougher sentences that will act as a deterrent for those committing these crimes.
He added: "Perpetrators are often given fines which do not reflect the emotional impact of dog theft on the families involved."
Temp Supt Provart encouraged people to report anything likely to assist police by calling or emailing them.
He said: "Tell us what's going on because we will respond to all community intelligence and that is very much important for us to have that coming in routinely as well."