Men pretending to be from RSPCA try to steal woman's dogs

RSPCA inspector

Police have said RSPCA inspectors will always carry ID and there are few situations where they will approach members of the public. - Credit: PA

Men pretending to be from the RSPCA tried to steal a woman's dogs while she was out walking.

Police received reports of the attempted dog theft on Attleborough Road in Hingham, south Norfolk.

A woman was walking her two dogs at around 6.30pm on Sunday, May 23 when the two men driving a van pulled up and approached her.

The men claimed to be from the RSPCA and tried to snatch the dogs - but were unsuccessful and drove off.

Police said officers are in the early stages of their investigation and enquiries are ongoing to establish the exact circumstances around the incident. 

Eyewitnesses said they saw a police presence around the church in Hingham late last night, with police knocking on residents' doors to see if anyone had CCTV footage.

An RSPCA spokesperson said they were saddened to hear about the pretenders.

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"We are concerned by a small number of incidents where people are impersonating RSPCA staff", they said.

The woman was approached on Attleborough Road by two men in a van

The woman was approached on Attleborough Road, Hingham, by two men in a van - Credit: Google

“If an individual claiming to be from the RSPCA knocks on your door, always look for the badge and ask to see official identification.

"All our frontline staff wear branded clothes and carry ID. If you’re concerned someone may not be who they say they are please call 0300 1234 999 (using option 1 which says ‘responding to a card left by the RSPCA') to verify their credentials.

"If you believe someone is suspicious then do not grant them access to your property or your animals and report the incident to police on 101.”

What the RSPCA does and doesn't do

They will NOT:

  • Force entry or try to seize your pets - staff can only access properties by consent or if accompanied by police with a warrant
  • Approach someone out in public unless they happen to have witnessed animal cruelty themselves there and then
  • Investigate reports of stolen pets, as this is a criminal matter dealt with by police

They WILL:

  • Wear RSPCA branded clothing and carry RSPCA identification. Van drivers are also likely to have the company logo on their vehicle
  • Knock on the pet owner's door directly if they need to speak to them

In Norfolk in 2020 there were 30 crimes reported in which dogs had been stolen. In total 52 dogs were stolen and police were able to reunite 16 with their owners

Springer Spaniels Bonnie and Tilly were stolen from outside of their home in Forncett.

Springer Spaniels Bonnie and Tilly were stolen from outside of their home in Forncett. - Credit: Matthew Cullum