PET owners are being warned about dog thefts in Herefordshire, with a council warning how the criminals identify targets.

Ewyas Harold Parish Council is warning people in the Golden Valley that dog thefts appear to be coming "quite a common crime nationally".

The council said there have been attempts in the Much Birch and How Caple area to snatch dogs from gardens.

The spokesperson said apparently the thieves locally are tying a piece of string on the fence or gate to identify houses with dogs.

The other method which has been reported is black paint being used to mark the ground.


These methods are used to show which houses have dogs which "could be tempted close enough and then snatched".

It comes after police released photos of 48 suspected stolen dogs that they want to reunite with their owners.

More than 80 animals were seized last month when officers investigating a series of pet thefts raided a Travellers' site on the outskirts of Ipswich.

Suffolk Police said work is ongoing to identify the owners, but due to a lack of identifying features and information the process has proved "challenging".

The force said that none of the 83 dogs, of various breeds and ages, have yet been reunited with their owners.

Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Wallace, senior investigating officer for the operation, said: "We are keen to hear from anyone who believes any of the dogs in the images may be theirs.

"During the last few weeks officers have been liaising with other police forces around the country, as well as conducting a number of other inquiries, in order to establish where the dogs may have originated from."


Anyone who believes that one or more of the dogs is theirs is asked to email police with proof of ownership at

They are asked to do so by May 24 providing a full name, contact details and the image number which relates to the dog, or dogs, in question.

Police stressed that owners should only make contact via the email address, and must not contact the force's contact and control room on 999 or 101.

Proof of ownership can include vet records clearly identifying the dog, or photos of distinctive markings.

The dogs either do not have microchips or have chips which appear to be incorrectly registered, but owners can contact police with further details on microchipping.

Other photos of the dog which prove ownership, purchase details or records of reporting a dog as lost or stolen to police or charities can also be submitted.

Six people were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to steal in connection with the operation.

A 39-year-old man, a 34-year-old man and two women aged 41 and 46 have been bailed until June 17.

A second 34-year-old man and a 35-year-old woman have both been released and will face no further action.