Police reassure dog owners after reports of thefts circulate online

Dog walkers at Catton Park. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Norfolk police have quashed rumours about dogs being stolen after rumours raising concerns began circulating online. - Credit: copyright: Archant 2014

Police have quashed rumours about dogs being stolen and men in a van acting suspiciously around dog walkers after rumours raising concerns began circulating online.

Norfolk Constabulary have said there have been no crimes recorded in the last seven day relating to dog thefts nor has the force received any reports of dogs being stolen from a property or while out walking with their owners over the last week.

The move comes after concerns were raised and rumours began circulating on social media about dogs being stolen or men in a van, including a van allegedly marked with the RSPCA logo, acting suspiciously around people out walking with their dogs.

Officers have said one person in North Walsham reported an incident on Saturday, March 20,  in which a man in a transit van asked questions about their dog while out walking. The person was asked to report any further sightings to the police, but no further reports were received.

The force said it had also checked with the RSCPA to see if it had received any reports of people impersonating its officers, which it had not.

Issuing a statement, Norfolk Police said: "The RSPCA has told us that a number of incidents circulating on social media claiming people are impersonating their inspectors do not appear to have been actual cases of people trying to pass as bogus officials. 

"It’s important to know there are very few incidents whereby an RSPCA officer will approach someone in public, unless they witness animal cruelty or see an animal in immediate danger. Officers will also wear RSPCA brand clothing and always carry RSPCA identification.

Most Read

"RSPCA officers do not have power of entry or seizure unless accompanied by a police officer. 

"If you’re approached by someone who makes you feel concerned about you or your dog’s safety or believe someone is posing as an RSPCA officer, tell us on 101.

"Try to give us as much detail about the person or the vehicle they were in as you can. And do not hesitate to call us on 999 if a crime is happening and you need our help."