Police have reassured residents there have been no reports of stolen dogs after fears bogus RSPCA representatives are operating in the county, leaving blue marks on the front of properties where there were pets.
Posts warning people to beware of potential dog nappers have been seen in the Skegness, Sutton-on-Sea and Boston areas - however, Coast Insp Matt Bennison says investigations show they are likely to be nothing more than “a myth” and residents should not be worried.
We have seen ‘urban myths’ doing the rounds before and they create huge fear in the community and so I would like to nip this one in the bud now.Coast Insp Matt Bennison
One post on the Facebook page Visit Burgh le Marsh on Saturday attracted more than 150 comments from anxious owners- and it was still doing the rounds in Sutton-on-Sea today.
The post reads: “I just wanted to let people know that a young lad knocked on our door last night at 7.30pm claiming to be from the RSPCA. He was wearing an RSPCA blue vest and asking for you to sign up to a lottery for £1 a week, I stupidly thought he was making idle chit chat asking if we had any animals I told him ‘yes’ we had a dog. He also asked me his name which I told him!
“However, as soon as I closed the door I thought it was a bit strange him being out so late and this morning we found a blue mark on the front of our house. “Just want to make people aware so they can check their houses for marks and keep an eye out!”
Among the many responses, Rachael Carter said: “I know!! I nearly had kittens when I read this today! He came knocking on Friday afternoon just before I went to play football. Luckily we have him on CCTV and there wasn’t any suspicious behaviour and no blue marks!”
The RSCPA website states door-to-door fundraising has been taking place in postcode areas PE22,23,24,25 between January 14 to 19, which confirms residents may have seen collectors in their uniforms in the area during that time.
Insp Bennison said he didn’t want to deter residents who are worried from getting in touch but he did not believe there was any reason for concern.
“There are very few incidents of dogs being snatch in the area - in fact I cannot recall any,” he said. “RSPCA representatives have been here but it could be the ‘blue mark’ was a coincidence on this occasion.
“Incidents like this can become ‘urban myths’ when shared on social media. I have seen them doing the rounds before and they create huge fear in the community and so I would like to nip this one in the bud now.
“We will, however, continue to monitor the situation.”
Anyone with concerns should call police on 101.