POLICE have quashed rumours of bogus charity collectors targeting Whitby and surrounding villages and of plots to steal dogs by putting coloured stickers on car tyres.
North Yorkshire Police and the RSPCA have issued a series of statments after getting a number of calls last week about bogus collectors claiming to be working for the RSPCA.
Officers were called to the Byland Road area on Thursday where two men were door knocking but checks proved they were legitimately working on behalf of the animal charity.
And, this week they acted to reassure residents once again after it was feared red and yellow dots were being put on people’s car tyres to indicate how many dogs a household had and what type and size they were.
On Monday a police spokesperson told the Gazette: “A local officer enlisted the advice of a local tyre fitter to prove that marks left on vehicle tyres are not the work of dog-nappers.
“The red and yellow dots seen on tyres are placed there by tyre manufacturers. The red dot denotes the heaviest part of the tyre and a yellow dot denotes the lightest. They are not the work of dog thieves.”
Earlier, Insp Andy Colbourne from Whitby Police had said: “It has been established that these representatives are working legitimately and I hope that puts people’s minds at rest.
“I can understand that residents do have concerns when they see people going door to door in their neighbourhood and I encourage people to report anything that they deem suspicious.”
Meanwhile, two dogs have genuinely gone missing from the area over the last fortnight.
Maurice, a four-year-old wire haired Jack Russell didn’t come back on Monday 4 March after owner Catherine Hatch-Robinson let him out for his usual mid-morning run on her land along with her two other dogs.
Catherine said it was if Maurice had “disappeared off the face of the earth”. He has never run away before and is castrated and despite walking driving around Fyrupdale and the surrounding area, walking in the fields and woods, notifying vets, police, gamekeepers and farmers there has been no sign of him.
She added: “He might chase the odd rabbit but he always comes back, there is no way he would run away after all these years.”
On Sunday 3 March, Minty a nine-year-old Bichon-Frise went missing from the garden of a house in Glaisdale.
Owner Jack Dowson said: “She has never run off before, she never leaves our side. We were all in the yard and she was running about like she does and the next thing is gone.
“With her being quite little and not clipped I think if someone saw her they would use her for breeding because they are expensive and it is easy money.”
An RSPCA spokesperson reassured people the collecters were genuine and door to door fundraising is a valuable method for the RSPCA.
They said: “The door to door fundraisers are not there for any other purpose than to try and raise money and support for our work in caring for and preventing cruelty to animals.
We work in partnership with Appco Group Support who carry out door to door fundraising on behalf of the RSPCA. All our door to door fundraisers are smartly dressed and wear a blue tabard with the RSPCA logo printed in white on the front. They also carry ID badges displaying a fundraiser ID number, a photo of themselves and a letter of introduction from the RSPCA. Their ID will also show that they are a paid fundraiser from Appco Group Support.”