Boris Johnson promises 'ruthless' crackdown on scourge of gangs stealing our ...

Boris Johnson promises 'ruthless' crackdown on scourge of gangs stealing our dogs Demand for dogs during pandemic triggered huge rise in thefts, with some breeds fetching up to £4,000 each – four times pre-Covid prices Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland has set up taskforce  PM said it would ensure 'criminal justice system is dealing properly with anyone so malicious as to steal a dog'

By Ian Gallagher and Jake Ryan For The Mail On Sunday

Published: 22:56 BST, 1 May 2021 | Updated: 22:59 BST, 1 May 2021

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Boris Johnson today promises a 'ruthless' crackdown on dognapping and other pet crime.

Demand for dogs during the pandemic triggered a massive rise in thefts, with some breeds fetching up to £4,000 each – four times pre-Covid prices.

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Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland has set up a taskforce that the Prime Minister said would ensure that the 'criminal justice system is dealing properly with anyone who is so malicious as to steal a dog'.

Boris Johnson today promises a 'ruthless' crackdown on dognapping and other pet crime. Demand for dogs during the pandemic triggered a massive rise in thefts, with some breeds fetching up to £4,000 each – four times pre-Covid prices

Boris Johnson today promises a 'ruthless' crackdown on dognapping and other pet crime. Demand for dogs during the pandemic triggered a massive rise in thefts, with some breeds fetching up to £4,000 each – four times pre-Covid prices

Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland (above) has set up a taskforce that the Prime Minister said would ensure that the 'criminal justice system is dealing properly with anyone who is so malicious as to steal a dog'

Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland (above) has set up a taskforce that the Prime Minister said would ensure that the 'criminal justice system is dealing properly with anyone who is so malicious as to steal a dog'

Writing in The Mail on Sunday, opposite, Mr Johnson – who owns a white, male Jack Russell cross called Dilyn with his fiancée Carrie Symonds – says the crime is too often dismissed as trivial and on a par with shoplifting.

But he adds: 'I believe strongly in the broken windows theory – that if you want to stop serious crime, then you must also be ruthless in dealing with offences that might seem second order to some, but which in reality cause huge pain and grief to the victims.'

The new measure is part of a broader crackdown on crime. 

Mr Johnson said that police, partly helped by Covid which has restricted criminals' movement, are winning the war on county lines drugs gangs which use dedicated phone lines to send mass texts to customers and organise networks of couriers, often children and vulnerable adults, to move drugs from cities to smaller towns.

'Overall, it looks as thought there is about a 20 per cent reduction in the prevalence of these gangs,' writes Mr Johnson. 'But we are only just at the beginning of this fight; we must do more.'

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He adds: 'We need to bring the hammer down hard on the gangs – at

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