Dearne dog owners are being urged to be vigilant - amid claims men in a white van have been involved in a scam to snatch pet pooches from residents’ homes.
Numerous posts were made on social media websites such as Facebook warning about a white Transit van containing men who claimed to be fish sellers visiting streets across the borough.
It is claimed the van’s occupants knocked on doors offering seafood to sell but then marked the kerb outside houses with paint so thieves could return later and steal dogs living in the homes.
Worried dog owners told on social media how the van is rumoured to have been operating in the Mexborough and Tickhill areas.
Residents posted their concerns on the Mexborough Now and Then Facebook page.
Peter Dilcock said one of the men in the van “stated he was selling fish but stealing dogs.”
Sue Whiting added: “It’s very worrying.”
This comes after residents in Town Field, Doncaster, reported that a gang had made several attempts to snatch their dogs to use them in dog fights.
Police are now warning dog owners to be on the look out.
PC Matt Duffy urged dog owners to ensure their dogs are microchipped so they can be returned if lost.
He added: “In order to protect your dog from opportunist thieves, ensure that back gardens and gates are fully secure.
“If you are leaving your dog in a car, make sure that it is not left for long periods of time on a hot day and lock the vehicle.
“To help return your dog if it goes missing or it is stolen, ensure that is it microchipped.”
He added: “For more information visit your local vet or seek advice from The Dogs Trust.”
To report incidents of crime contact police on the non-emergency 101 number.
Alternatively, report crime anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.