Two cocker spaniels have been stolen from their Staffordshire home in the latest in a spate of dog thefts in the area.

The black and chocolate dogs were taken from their home yesterday evening, Saturday, March 6.

The theft was revealed by rural wildlife crime officer PCSO Louise Jones, of Staffordshire Police.

PCSO Jones tweeted: "Two cocker spaniels stolen. Last night, 6.30pm to 7.40pm from Tinkers Lane, Brewood.

"Black and chocolate ones. Please retweet and share far and wide. Black Audi involved, possible a A3 or A4.

"Anyone who's seen this car or has any info pls call 101. There were two or three attempted thefts of other dogs last night too."

It comes after a series of dog thefts in the south of the county, as well as pooches being targeted in Derbyshire and Leicestershire. One of the incidents involved the theft of eight miniature wire-haired dachshunds stolen from a home in Acresford, near Swadlincote, on February 10.

Two have since been found - 67 and 100 miles away from their home, but the others are still missing.

In Derbyshire, there have been reports of men in a white van posing as RSPCA officers to steal dogs to sell on the black market.

Staffordshire Police has now joined forces with the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) to urge dog owners to look after their pet pooches.

Deputy chief constable Amanda Blakeman, from the NPCC, said: “Dog theft can be a devastating crime for families and causes considerable distress to owners. Whilst it is still a very rare crime, it’s sadly something we have seen increasing recently.

“During the coronavirus pandemic criminals have adjusted their activities and are taking advantage of the big demand for pets over the lockdown period. The cost of a puppy has considerably increased over the past year making this a lucrative market for organised criminals to exploit.

“We rely on the public providing us with information and would urge anyone who sees anything suspicious to report it to their local officers. While these offences can be very difficult to investigate police understand how upsetting they are and will robustly follow any lines of inquiry.”

Officers are now urging families to check their privacy settings before sharing pictures of dogs online as it can attract criminals.

They also want anyone buying a dog to make sure it has come from a legitimate breeder before buying.

“I also want to encourage those who are buying dogs to really consider where the pet has come from and ensure that it is being purchased legally,” Deputy Chief Constable Blakemen added. “Advice can be found online on the checks you should make before purchasing a new dog or puppy.”

Anyone who is suspicious of any activity they see or who is suspicious of any dogs they see for sale should message Staffordshire Police on Facebook or Twitter. Alternatively contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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