DOG thieves could be using a secret code to target desirable pets.
Markings labelled the ‘Da Pinchi code’ have been reported around the country recently, with burglars leaving different painted symbols on houses they plan on targeting.
A homeowner in Coleford thinks such a marking was left on their gate last week and it has been linked to various attempts to steal dogs in the Forest of Dean recently.
Rachael Trigg, who lives in Angel Vale, Coleford, found two markings outside her house last Wednesday.
“There was a line of paint on the path pointing the way to back gate then a diagonal mark on the back gate itself,” said the 27-year-old.
“We’ve got two rescue greyhounds, which are highly sought after, and I’ve heard a lot of people talking about attempted dog thefts recently so I’m sure it’s to do with that.
“It’s really worrying, we’re barricading the dogs in and we won’t let them out in the garden unless we’re with them.”
‘Da Pinchi code’ markings can indicate wealthy homeowners, while others can show the person living there might be vulnerable.
Forest of Dean Dogs Lost and Found Facebook group has issued a flyer off the back of it, warning owners to be aware that dogs are being targeted in a variety of ways.
Some, it said, are simply at risk while being walked, while others may be taken by distraction burglars who call at homes.
Louise Powles from Primrose Hill, Lydney, believed she had been targeted for her pet late on Sunday night. On August 30, Lisa Scantlebury said a labrador had been targeted at a friend’s house in Lydbrook.
“She let him out into the garden and she opened the door to call him in and saw someone at the back,” she said. “They had gone before she had a good chance to see them. She is convinced they were attempting to get the dog over the fence.”
Earlier this summer, prize-winning dog breeder Ken Sinclair found three of his Tibetan terriers had been stolen from their kennels near Newent overnight in what he insisted was a pre-meditated targeting.
Police warned people to be vigilant but said they had no reports of attempted dog thefts recently, nor of markings on homes.