Police reassure dog owners over theft rumours after incident reported at Barnes Park

Officers have responded to an increase in suspicious incidents involving attempted dog thefts following heightened concern after some ‘fabricated’ stories were posted on social media.

Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 5:18 pm
Barnes Park, Sunderland

Northumbria Police are reassuring dog walkers that it is safe to walk their dogs in the region following an increase of reports of attempted dog thefts.

The force said it has seen an increase in suspicious incidents reported to them, but that no dogs had been stolen by strangers in the area this year.

The statement comes after reports of a man trying to unclip the lead on a dog at Barnes Park in Sunderland.

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Northumbria Police.

A Northumbria Police spokesperson said the concerns were reported to police and although there had been no attempt to take the dog officers are carrying out enquiries.

They went on to say that in some other cases stories posted on social media about incidents in the region have been found to be fabricated which has caused heightened concern and an increase in suspicious incidents.

Police say that dog thefts are ‘incredibly rare’ across the region and there have been no reports of dogs being stolen by strangers in the force area this year.

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A Northumbria Police spokesperson said : “We would reassure the public that thefts of dogs in our region are incredibly rare and there have been no reports of dogs being stolen by strangers this year.

"The number of dog thefts have gone up but these are overwhelmingly related to domestic settings where there has been a dispute over the ownership of the dog.

"In some cases stories posted on social media about incidents in our area have been found to be fabricated. These stories do lead to heightened concern and therefore we have seen an increase in suspicious incidents.

"All of these reports will be investigated and, if offences are identified, we will take action.”

Officers are reassuring the dog walking community that it is safe to walk their dogs and have said that if they become aware of any information that suggests dog thieves are operating in the region then they will ensure the information is shared to the public.

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