A spate of dog thefts and rural crime in the Thames Valley area is believed to be the work of organised crime gangs, according to police.

Chief inspector Simon Dodds, Andover district commander and strategic lead for rural policing in the Hampshire Constabulary, told Shooting Times: “The theft of dogs remains uncommon in Hampshire, however in December we saw a worrying series of these offences, the circumstances surrounding which indicated the involvement of organised crime groups. This included the targeting of specific breeds of working dogs housed in outdoor kennels, the use of high-powered off-road vehicles, and links between offences across a large geographic area covering neighbouring counties.”

He said the investigation into the thefts was being led by officers from Hampshire Police’s criminal investigation department, local Country Watch and Safer Neighbourhood teams, and that a number of arrests have already been made.

“Without doubt, key to progress has been information given to us by the public. From vigilant members of our rural communities reporting suspicious vehicles and behaviour, to people who know something about those involved and the impact these terrible offences have on the dogs’ owners, I can’t stress enough the importance of keeping this information coming in,” he said.

The rest of this article appears in the 30th January issue of Shooting Times.

What is YOUR opinion?

Join other ST readers in our forums to discuss your views.

Like this article? Mark this page on a social bookmarking website…


What is YOUR opinion?

Join other ST readers in our forums to discuss your views.