DOG-SNATCHERS Crooks pretending to be Scottish SPCA staff are stealing pet dogs in Motherwell for illegal fights

DOG-SNATCHERS Crooks pretending to be Scottish SPCA staff are stealing pet dogs in Motherwell for illegal fights

Lanarkshire locals are being warned of bogus animal welfare officers confiscating dogs after making up that there has been lots of complaints

CON artists posing as animal welfare officers are stealing pet dogs and forcing them into illegal fights, it is claimed.

The crooks pretend to be Scottish SPCA officers and confiscate smaller-sized canines after claiming “numerous complaints” have been made about the family pets.

It is believed the stolen pooches are then used as bait in the vile fights.

Lanarkshire locals have been warned to be vigilant in case the bogus officers come calling.

Newarthill Community Council claim the crooks mark the gates of houses with dogs to alert their con artist comrades where to go.

A statement on Facebook said: “People are posing as SSPCA officers with very good copy cat uniforms going around houses with small dogs in them chapping doors and saying “due to numerous complaints we will have to confiscate your dog”.

“They don’t have any warrants or if they do they are all FALSE.

“These people are stealing smallish size dogs to use for dog baiting used in illegal dog fights.

“One person goes around streets first banging a brush against a paint pot they can tell by the bark of the dog and once identified they mark gate, wall with paint then the next fake mob come around.

“Large van usually parked further down the street. So if you don’t recognise it phone the number plates in to Police Scotland.

“My niece nearly caught them out in Jerviston.

“Everyone needs to be vigilant.”

Speaking to the Evening Times, Scottish SPCA Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn says his staff would never turn up at a door without official identification – and dog owners should call a helpline if they think they have had a bogus officer.

He said: “We are saddened to hear of people impersonating our inspectors who work hard to build positive community relationships.

“Under no circumstances will an inspector or animal rescue officer attend an address without full uniform and official identification.

“The Scottish SPCA uniform can be identified by the branded epaulettes and logo across the front of the jacket.

“If you are at all unsure about a visit made by one of our inspectors please call our animal helpline on 03000 999 999.”

Police Scotland confirmed that they were aware of the issue.