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Suffolk dog thefts: Four dogs and 13 puppies stolen from Barton Mills kennels

Four dogs and 13 puppies have been stolen from a Suffolk kennels.

A grey and white female cockapoo, a chocolate female working cocker spaniel, a honey and white lhasa apso female with seven puppies, a black and white female lhasa and six labrador puppies were taken from Fiveways Boarding Kennels and Cattery, in Barton Mills, yesterday (July 9) at some point between 3.45pm and 6pm.

The cockapoo, aged between two and three, and cocker spaniel, aged three, belonged to a customer - the kennels' first since lockdown after it reopened yesterday.

One of the stolen dogs
One of the stolen dogs

Jason Francis, owner of Fiveways Kennels in Tuddenham Road, said they discovered the dogs were missing when they went to walk them and found one of their other dogs with a rope around his neck.

"He had obviously managed to get away from them," he said. "We thought this isn't right, he shouldn't be out."

He said the thieves had managed to get through extensive security measures at the kennels.

One of the stolen dogs
One of the stolen dogs

Of the seven lhasa apso puppies, there was one honey-coloured, three black-and-white-coloured males and two black-and-white-coloured females.

The six labrador puppies were five-weeks-old with two yellow-coloured males, two black-coloured males and two black-coloured females.

"We have the connection with every single one of our dogs," Mr Francis said. "They (the culprits) don't care that these dogs have a life and have feelings. It's just purely money, money, money. They don't care what happens to them. That's the sad fact."

It follows the theft of a dog from a farm at Holywell Row on Monday and Mr Francis believes there will be more canine thefts.

Stolen dog (38224933)
Stolen dog (38224933)

"This is going to get worse and worse and worse," he said.

"While Covid is about, the price of the dogs is ridiculously stupid across the board.

"It's going to become ridiculous."

Stolen dog (38224929)
Stolen dog (38224929)

The cockapoo and spaniel belong to a family and Mr Francis said he hopes they can get their dogs back.

The thieves left the mum of the labrador puppies and he fears they will not survive without her.

He said there were at least two sets of footprints in the mud and believes, one, potentially two, vehicles had parked nearby.

Stolen dog (38224931)
Stolen dog (38224931)

Police have not ruled out a connection with the Holywell Row theft.

They have reiterated a warning to dog owners to take extra care following a number of dog thefts this year.

It follows a message to the public on June 25 when there were 12 confirmed cases of stolen dogs in Suffolk.

All bar one of those incidents involved the theft of dogs that would be classed as working gun breeds.

Sergeant Brian Calver said: "Organised crime groups are actively targeting addresses, with working breeds tending to be those that are favoured by criminals.

"The loss of any pet can be devastating to owners, with the added trauma of not knowing what sort of conditions the dog is being subjected to. We would advise dog owners to review security of any outdoor kennels.

"Consider your security on social media and avoid giving away details that may highlight your address and the fact you have a dog which could be attractive to thieves.

"We would encourage you to be vigilant of suspicious persons seen around addresses, or any cold callers. Please report such activity, with descriptions of the individuals and their vehicles, as well as sharing those concerns on local watch groups."

Anyone with information about the Barton Mills incident should contact police quoting crime reference 37/38708/20.

Visit www.suffolk.police.uk/contact-us/existing-report-update