South Yorkshire Police issue warning over people wrongly being accused of stealing dogs

A warning has been issued by South Yorkshire Police over the number of people wrongly being accused of stealing dogs.

Following an increase in dog thefts nationwide, there has been a noticeable increase in social media posts highlighting suspicious behaviour and vehicles in South Yorkshire communities, with a number suggesting direct links to dog thefts.

In some posts, photographs of people and vehicles have been shared.

South Yorkshire Police recently revealed that 63 investigations into dog thefts had been launched since last July.

A number of dogs have been stolen in South Yorkshire over recent weeks

In two incidents in Sheffield, dog owners were threatened by armed criminals who stole their pups.

One man was threatened at gunpoint after making online arrangements to meet a potential buyer on Verdon Street, Burngreave, on Monday, February 22.

But when the owner and a friend turned up with Cane Corso and Rottweiler pups, a man pointed a gun through their car window while three others stole the dogs.

Two Cane Corsos and one Rottweiler were stolen, with another Rottweiler dropped by the thieves as they fled.

That same day, four Mastiff-Cane Corso crossbreeds were stolen from a flat on Smelter Wood Road, Richmond, when their owner was held up at knifepoint.

But South Yorkshire Police is warning people not to post accusations on social media.

PC Yvonne Loveridge, who works in the Doncaster West neighbourhood policing team, said: “We have recently been made aware of several posts on social media in relation to dog thefts.

“There have been a number of posts wrongly identifying individuals and vehicles.

“Of course people are concerned about dog thefts in their local area but please be careful when accusing people on social media.

“There have been a number of people taking matters into their own hands and causing damage to property as a result of these social media posts, when in reality there is no evidence to link these people to dog thefts.

“We take all reports of dog thefts seriously and all reports are analysed to try and identify any potential suspects.

“Please continue to report any suspicious activity to us via 101, the online reporting form or 999 if a crime is in progress.”

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