Scammers demand thousands from family after terrier stolen from farm near Kendal

  • Video report by Fiona Marley Patterson.

Pet owners are being warned to be on their guard as dog thefts continue to rise.

In Cumbria, twice as many were stolen last year than during the previous three years.

A family from Kentmere near Kendal knows this all too well. Since their 14-month old terrier was taken from their farm they've been the victim of scammers.

Tilly was taken from Amy and John's farm near Kendal. Credit: ITV Border

Farmers Amy and John have had phone calls from people demanding up to £50,000 for their dog. John said: "You never think on a quiet valley like this that someone would even think about coming up here and 'oh we'll take that dog home with us'.

"The third or fourth time he rung he admitted that he was just trying to scam me and that he didn't have my dog. But then he openly admitted that he'd made ten grand through the week just from scamming people."

Amy said: "We've had another couple of phone calls since sort of yeah demanding more money saying they want cash, they won't do bank details because then you'd know who they were."

Inspector Steve Minnikin, Cumbria Police Credit: ITV Border

There were 46 dogs stolen in Cumbria last year. The Police say that is still a relatively small number but it is double what it was the year before.

Many charities say nationally there is a huge rise in dog theft perhaps because of the lockdown boom.

Inspector Steve Minnikin, from Cumbria Police, said: "Don't leave them unsupervised, make sure the garden's secure, make sure the gates are locked, fit a bell to the gate, very popular nowadays are these sort of small cameras you can put everywhere or on your doorbell. And act quickly.

"If you think a dog's being stolen contact the police, ring 999 or ring 101 if you've got the information in relation to it. Always report that loss of theft to the microchip database."