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Northwood House, Greenwood Business Centre, Regent Road, Salford, M5 4QH
Police appeal for man who tried to snatch dog

Issue: 02/04/2021

A dog owner took evasive action and hit a man over the head with a torch as he tried to steal her dog in Lyneham in Wiltshire.
Vicky Haines, daughter of Bath championship show stalwart Geoff Jackson-Haines, was walking her Golden Retriever, Dolly, at night when she was approached a man who enquired about the breed of her dog before attempting to steal it.
She told OUR DOGS, ‘On Monday the 8th of March I had a night off work and I thought right I’ll just for a little bimble with Dolly. So we went for a walk round the block like we normally do and we were just walking down the main road and I picked up her poo and put it in the bin.’
The Police when they interviewed Vicky asked why she had a torch with her and she told them, ‘Because it’s dark and I always want to pick up her poo and not stand in anybody else’s!’
Vicky was standing on the road between the poo bin and the bus stop when, ‘A blue van pulled up beside me but slightly ahead with its hazard lights on. Do you know when you sort of think it might be someone that is lost? He got out of the driver’s side walked in front of the vehicle, walked up to me and said, “What breed is your dog?”
‘Before I could even respond he grabbed the flexi-lead, I didn’t have it on the lock position, she’s 10-years-old she doesn’t wonder off anyway.-He grabbed the flexi-lead with some force but obviously because it wasn’t on lock I didn’t get jarred or anything.
‘I dropped the flexi-lead, I grabbed my torch out of my pocket smacked him across his left hand temple and I just shouted at Dolly to run away.
‘I said, “Run away, Dolly, run away!” which she started to do. I then ran around him. She, bless her, we’ve always taught her if we drop the lead to stop.
‘So with it being a flexi-lead it all coiled up, she then panicked, thinking she is on her own on a main road and mummy wasn’t with her and I ran up to her grabbed the lead, he was getting in his van, and that is when I turned round and got his registration number.’
Vicky was shaken up by the incident and she said, ‘I came home, I dialled 101, and I walked in and the first thing I did was to phone up my dad and the first thing I said to him was, “Someone tried to take my Dolly.” Then the police turned up and took a statement off me. They’ve taken my torch and my flexi-lead. However they still haven’t done DNA on it.’
Pictures of the man suspected to have made the attempted robbery have been circulating online but he has not been caught. The van was spotted in the car park of the local pub.
Dolly has been physically sick after a couple of walks since the incident. Vicky has been assured by her father’s wife, Joy, who breeds Golden Retrievers, that they do not suffer from trauma.
Vicky said, ‘I think with Dolly it is because I screamed at her to run away and I never shout at her and I think she got into a bit of a panic and is just a bit unsettled about it.’
It was difficult for Vicky when she had to go out with her dog again, ‘Oh God yes (it was difficult). I’ve only been out three times since and that’s it.’
Sgt Katharine Smith, from the neighbourhood policing team which covers Lyneham said, ‘This is a distressing incident for the victim and luckily neither she or her dog were hurt. Fortunately incidents like these are rare but we are taking this report extremely seriously – you may see increased police patrols in the area as a result. We are appealing for anyone who may have been in the area of The Green, Lyneham, around 8.30pm on March 8 to call us. Any information may be helpful and particularly those witnesses who may have dash cam footage of the suspect, or the van he was in, should contact us on 101.
‘We have released images of the van and the suspect we would like to speak to in connection with this incident. You can call 101 or report anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.’

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