‘Beware of the dog-snatchers’

A Lisburn couple who report being confronted at home by three men they believe to be dog-snatchers fear organised thieves are back to literally make their mark in the city.

While enquiries are ongoing, police - who also contradicted social media claims that a suspected dog-snatcher was arrested in Lambeg recently - were unable to confirm the couple’s opinion, but the two remain in no doubt what the men were after at their Low Road flat.

“They banged at the door,” said one of the occupants, neither of whom wanted to be named.

“Then they waited a minute or two and banged louder, before they started kicking the door.

“I phoned the police then ran out after them but they just casually walked away.

“They didn’t say a word. They didn’t seem the slightest bit concerned.”

The two further reported that “three masked men in camouflage jackets” walked in on one of their neighbours and, finding the flat occupied, calmly turned and walked out.

“They’re out to snatch dogs,” said the woman, “so they can train them up to fight or use them to bait the dogs they are training.

“It’s disgusting.”

Her partner added, “Ours are the only two flats with dogs. “They go around banging at doors to see if they hear barking so they know for certain there’s a dog; then they’ll mark it so they can come back later.

“They used to mark houses with crosses but now you’ll see splashes of paint.”

Eager to warn Lisburn residents to be on their guard, and despite police denying knowledge of wider activity, the two said they had heard of similar incidents at Lambeg and Ballymacash.

Their warning of tell-tale markings harks back to previous reports of thieves using a system of coded symbols to indicate when a house is occupied, by how many people etc.

Of their own experience, the couple said, “You just don’t know what to do at the time; it’s crazy.

“We just wanted to make sure people were aware this was going on.”