Home U.K Police could use specialist dognapping squads to tackle surge in pet theft

Police could use specialist dognapping squads to tackle surge in pet theft

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Home Secretary Priti Patel is reviewing current penalties for pet theft after calls for tougher sentences. Forces around the country are being urged to establish specialist units and share information about the activities of puppy gangs. A source said: “It is an idea that is being actively considered. Lockdown has produced a huge spike in the ­number of thefts.”

Proposals for dognapping squads come after ­charity DogLost reported a 170 per cent rise in thefts last year compared to 2019.

While the figures for pets stolen are relatively low, the impact on owners is severe, said the National Police Chiefs Council. Organised crime gangs are taking advantage of increased demand for pets. Amanda Blakeman, the NPCC’s lead on acquisitive crime, said the cost of a puppy has increased so much that it is a “lucrative market for criminals”.

And Katy Bourne, Police and Crime Commissioner for Sussex, yesterday launched a survey on the issue.

She said: “Pet theft – dog theft in particular – is a growing concern for the public with shocking reports in the media of more dogs being snatched
by criminals.

“I hope the results of this survey will give the Government the evidence it needs to take more robust action against perpetrators.”

Pedigree breeds are not the only targets. Beloved mongrels are also being stolen as crooks try to claim a reward for their return.



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