The horrific trend of puppies and dogs being stolen is increasing as thieves try to cash in on the over inflated prices people are prepared to pay for them.
It's a national problem and our local rural communities haven't escaped - which is why we all need to take steps to ensure our dogs are kept safe.
A worsening situation
The Daily Mirror recently reported on the 'chilling epidemic' of a 65% increase in dog thefts during lockdown - and it's spreading as thieves look to make quick, easy, money from the lucrative and abhorrent crime of selling dogs on to the highest bidder.
There was the case of a woman in Malpas out walking her Maltese Terrier when a white van pulled up and a man demanded she hand it over. There was a struggle as the thief tried to take the dog from her arms before he gave up and drove off with his accomplice.
We have seen three dachshunds stolen during the night from a smallholding near Gobowen which prompted a warning by North Wales Police about the threat of dog thefts up and down the Welsh/Shropshire border. And a local Facebook group has been set up, Oswestry and surrounding areas dog snatcher watch, which people are being encouraged to join in order to warn each other about suspicious vehicles and activity.
People across Shropshire, including Gobowen and surrounding areas, are reporting houses being marked with cable ties around lamp posts - residents believe it is a way of identifying potential targets.
There have also been reports in the area of cars and other vehicles, notably with Irish plates, being seen and the occupants asking people if they want gardening, guttering or fencing work doing, prompting concerns that they are simply looking for houses with dogs.
And the future of 40 puppies was made more certain following a tip-off to police about suspicious activity in Gloucestershire which resulted in a vehicle being stopped on the M6 and the puppies recovered.
Dogs are often kept outdoors in kennels, buildings or caravans, heightening the risk of theft but, as we have seen, they are not safe from being targeted it they are out for a walk with their owner, and thieves are not being discouraged from breaking into homes to make off with their prize.
What can we do?
There are basic steps to take:
- Always be vigilant
- Don't leave your dog unattended for long periods
- Keep them out of sight as far as is possible from outside the house
- Keep your dog in a secured area
- Toughen up security
If you are keeping your dog outside, make sure the outbuilding or kennel is properly secured with a strong lock which can't be easily broken off or removed. Padlocks can be vulnerable so don't make it easy for the thief. You'll find a robust lock like our GR250 is an ideal solution for this situation.
Alarms are also an extremely effective addition in keeping your dog safe and the Bulldog Secure Alarm can be fitted with door contacts which will trigger an alert and warn you about an intruder.
Our dogs are precious to us, our loyal and devoted best friends, they give us so much and it's only right that we do all we can to make sure they are kept safe and happy in our care.
For more information about how we can help you, call our team on 01952 728171.
The gradual easing of lockdown has come as a great relief to all of us who were confined for so long - including thieves!
Our homes are our sanctuary and great places to be but the constraints of lockdown created a great deal of strain and being allowed to return to some sort of normality has been eagerly accepted and greatly appreciated.
Thieves have, by and large, also been in confinement with crime figures dropping across the country during lockdown but as restrictions have gradually lifted these figures have been increasing once again - so it's time to reappraise your security arrangements to ensure you aren't caught out!
Many people have been using the last three months to get all those little jobs done around the home that kept being put off, but toughening up home security probably didn't feature as high a priority as spring cleaning, painting and decorating. So we are asking you to please think about it now!
Did you know that a home with no security measures in place is five times more likely to be burgled than one with even the most basic of safety precautions? So, with less time being spent at home, you will want to make sure:
● Doors and windows have strong locks fitted and are in good working order
● Garages, workshops, sheds and other outbuildings are properly secured
● Your home is protected by security lighting, CCTV and an alarm system
● Any vehicle is locked while not in use and keys kept somewhere safe and away from the front door
It's also worth remembering the need to stay alert to callers with an increase in the number of conmen making the rounds looking to either get into your home by way of a distraction burglary or to persuade you to part with your valuable personal information like bank account details.
There are a number of ways you can protect yourself and your home: Set up a doorbell with a camera that is linked to your phone which allows you to see who's about even if you are not there. It also saves the recording for a period of time in case you need to identify a criminal.
A home alarm system is not only a visible deterrent but also the best way of preventing a burglary and keeping your home secure while Security lighting adds an extra layer of protection which lights up any unwanted callers, often scaring away the thief before they have had a chance to take anything.
Some of the simplest but still the most effective security precautions are Chains and padlocks - tough options which along with Garage/roller shutter door locks and Shed and workshop door locks remain among the most tried and tested methods to keep the thief at bay.
For more information, telephone the Bulldog team on 01952 728171.
A new and worrying report has highlighted the £54m cost of rural crime across the UK last year - a 9% increase on 2018.
The report by rural insurer NFU Mutual appeared in the Shropshire Star and paints a disturbing picture of agricultural vehicle and livestock thefts with farms being targeted more and more by organised criminal gangs.
It reveals high value farm machinery, such as tractors, are being targeted to supply an overseas market, while smaller, easier to transport equipment like quad bikes remain an attractive option for thieves - all of which serves as a timely reminder to toughen up your security.
The report focussed on 2019 and compared it to 2018 figures. It revealed:
Rural crime cost Shropshire £1.4m - up 14.8% on 2018
UK agricultural vehicle thefts cost £9.3m - an increase of £1.9m
Quad bike thefts cost £3.1m - up £500k
Total quad bike and all-terrain vehicle thefts rose by 21%
Land Rover Defender thefts rose 34%
Rural crime rose in every region and each nation of the UK
There is no doubt that very well organised gangs are behind much of the criminal activity and are seeing rural locations, particularly farms, as easy targets with high value tractors and quad bikes ranking at the very top of the shopping list.
Thieves are also targeting high-cost tractor GPS equipment which is becoming more widely used to aid day-to-day farming operations and are particularly in demand abroad.
The increase in rural crime is being combated by police with West Mercia and Dyfed-Powys forces linking up in cross-border patrols cooperation - a high visibility presence aimed at reducing the threat and acting as a deterrent to thieves.
A recent operation involved the South Shropshire Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team around the south of our county and was hailed as being extremely successful.
We know it's difficult to ensure equipment is kept secure at all times, size often precludes it from being kept inside while the isolation of many farms only aids the covert operations of thieves. But there are still steps you can and should take.
Where possible, always keep equipment locked and housed in secure buildings, install CCTV and security lighting, ensure walls and gates around your property are robust and well maintained and fit trackers to all agricultural equipment and all-terrain vehicles.
Our team at Bulldog can help, advise and support you with all your security requirements. For more information, call us on 01952 728171.
Caravan sites are open! Yes, we're excited about it as well!
Everyone must be so pleased to be able to hit the road again with their caravan or motorhome - but a word of caution. Don't let the excitement of the occasion override safety and security!
Be alert and stay secure
People get so excited every time they go out for a short break, their week-long holiday or even a tour of the UK that they can sometimes get complacent! This can apply equally to Covid-19 and security, with both needing the focus of our full attention.
Yes, Covid-19 is still out there so make sure you are washing your hands and not bringing any germs back to your beloved caravan or motorhome and ensure you follow the Government guidance to avoid a potential resurgence of the virus.
As for security, it's a sad but undeniable fact that thieves are still in action, so don't make things easy for them and ensure your security is as tight as you can possibly make it.
During lockdown we have been watching reports of rural crime, caravans and motorhomes being stolen, thefts of trailers and tractors. Many of these could have been prevented - or at least made more difficult for the thieves.
Time and deterrent are everything
If Thieves believe it is going to take longer than the time they have to get the prized possession then they will move on to the next target. Let's be honest, which would you choose to steal - a caravan with a wheel lock, hitchlock, alarm and tracker or one without any of these invaluable security devices fitted. Easy pickings - that's what we would go for and we can be sure the thieves would, too!
So time and deterrent - remember those two factors each and every time you pull up:
● Outside your house to load - A popular time for thieves to strike
● On the campsite - Yes, you may plan to be there 'most' of the time but you won't be there throughout your stay and thieves still strike on site
● When you arrive back at storage - After a lovely break you may be feeling a little tired and rushed to get the kids home to bed, but don't be fooled. Don't think you will pop back the next day to put the security products on! It could be the most expensive 12 hours of your life!
It's great to have the freedom to hit the road again but be safe, be secure and enjoy your break!
What does the future hold for holidaying abroad? As restrictions continue to be eased the thoughts of many people will be turning to where and when they will be able to holiday safely.
The Government decision that people must self-isolate for two weeks after a holiday abroad means effectively turning a two-week annual vacation into four! This decision is of course common sense in the current climate as the very last thing we want is a second, more potentially devastating spike in Covid-19 cases.
Is holidaying in the UK really so bad?
People still need their breaks and it's clear that more and more people will be viewing staying in this country as a more logical option - certainly in the short and medium term until we can finally see the threat of this awful virus eliminated or minimised to an acceptable level.
We love our holidays abroad. The sun is a massive draw and something which can almost be guaranteed in foreign climes, while you pay your money and take your chance when it comes to holidaying at home. But is the thought of taking your annual break in the UK really so bad?
The UK has an excellent tourist industry which caters for holiday requirements to suit all tastes - and it's certainly more readily accessible than travelling abroad. Overseas holidays are likely to come with restrictions for some time, they are probably going to be more expensive as more countries begin to open borders and then there's the self-isolation issue when you return.
Deserving of support
Another major factor in all this is the need to back British, support our hotels, holiday parks, towns, shops and beaches as they come out of lockdown. All these holiday industries, not to mention the general economy of the country, needs and deserves our full support as we endeavour to get back on our feet.
The Shropshire Star carried a huge feature on how the leisure and tourism industry is in need of our support to start spending money again in order to keep these so important areas of our economy operating.
It's something we wholeheartedly agree with and hope you do too. Staycations can provide everything you need for a perfect holiday, so let's support our British holiday industry and take our vacation in the UK.
If you are looking for the perfect caravan or motorhome to go on holiday in then have a look for a Bulldog affiliated dealer near you using our dealer search.
You will be able to purchase your security products at the same time as your new caravan or motorhome but if you want to see what id available before you go to the dealer then you can have a look here.
The country is beginning to move again and it's encouraging to see a spike in sales reported as more younger families turn to caravanning.
It's great news after nearly three months of lockdown, providing a tremendous boost for sales of British new and used caravans, for dealers all over the country and for the wider economy as more people opt to holiday in the UK.
The situation was highlighted on national TV when presenter Alison Hammond visited Burton Caravan Centre for This Morning for a feature about how caravanning and glamping could save our summer holidays.
You can find your local Bulldog Security Products caravan dealer using our dealer search https://www.bulldogsecure.com/content/29/dealer-locator
Getting back on the road
The centre reopened on May 11 to deal with caravan sales and enquiries with staff saying the interest in buying caravans "has never looked so good".
This positive coverage for the industry courtesy of the bright, bubbly and forever optimistic TV presenter really couldn't have come at a better time with the normally busy period for early spring sales having been severely affected by the Covid-19 crisis.
Staff at Burton say they have also seen a spike in younger families buying caravans, which clearly indicates planning not only for later this year, as restrictions continue to ease, but also for the more long-term future.
No one needs to convince us about the merits of caravanning. Yes, there is the initial expense of buying a caravan, but when that is done there are years of relatively inexpensive holidays to be had - an important factor to consider when comparing prices for future holidays abroad.
The cost of holidaying outside the country is likely to rise as restrictions are eased and there is also the issue of having to self isolate for two weeks on your return.
It's also vital that we support British industry at this time as firms face the prospect of dealing with the financial implications of lockdown for a very long time. Makers of British caravans and dealerships all over the country are in need of our support during these difficult times.
If you are thinking about buying a caravan for the first time, there are a few things to remember:
- Do your research property
- Visit a reputable dealer
- Seek instructions so you know how everything works
- Make sure you have SECURE it! So many people bring their pride and joy home - just for a few nights - before they take it into storage and it is during those few nights when thieves hit. Find out what security measures you need here.
- Don't forget the tracker too! For peace of mind you will need to know where your caravan or motorhome is and you can simply check your phone with our easy trackers.
The options really are endless when you have your own caravan - as more and more people clearly are planning to discover.
It's really tough right now, we know! The sun's shining, the summer's coming and that normally means holidays have been booked and are eagerly anticipated - but this year is different, very, very different.
Holiday parks, campsites and caravan touring sites across the UK are closed and despite a start to the easing of lockdown we really have no idea of when it will be safe for these sites to reopen.
So, when are they likely to restart - giving us something to look forward to as we safely navigate the road from lockdown to some kind of normality?
The Caravan and Motorhome Club welcomed Government news of a relaxation of the lockdown earlier this month but is, like the rest of us, now waiting for further guidance on when campsites and touring sites are likely to reopen - a decision which clearly can't be given yet because it depends on how effective we all are in reducing the infection rate of Covid-19 to a bare minimum.
The club says:
"We will continue to liaise with Visit Britain, Tourism Alliance and British Holiday and Home Parks Association to ensure best practice operating, cleansing and safety protocols are developed for when we are able to reopen. At this time we are planning on the assumption that we will be able to introduce a phased reopening of our sites network during July."
More information is available by visiting the club's website at
Here's another thought. While you are off the road why not take advantage of the opportunity to ensure your tourer or motorhome have all the security measures in place so you are able to stay safe from thieves when the time comes to get out and about again.
The tourism industry has been decimated with hotels, guest houses and privately-owned static caravans for hire all suffering from having to cancel bookings with no idea yet as to when they can begin welcoming tourists.
Again, they must wait for clear guidance on when they will be able to resume business but that won't come until Government thinks it's safe.
The big names have been battling to keep holidaymakers informed of the situation since closing their gates two months ago - giving options of later dates or refunds to customers for when they get the all-clear to reopen.
Haven sites will stay closed until at least July 2 and holiday home ownership sales have been put on hold until the same date, although the company's caravan sales teams are still available to answer any questions remotely.
Center Parcs have extended their closure date to July 5, Hoseasons won't be welcoming guests until at least July 4, while Butlins has pushed back any reopening date until at least July 2. All these dates are being kept under constant review and holidaymakers with bookings are being updated accordingly.
Beware of different rules
You must also bear in mind the different rates that the four home nations are planning to come out of lockdown. England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are proceeding at a different pace and have very different ideas about what we will be able to do and when. So don't get caught out.
What we do know is that our Bulldog customers are desperate to get out in the caravans and motorhomes - well done to those who have spent time maintaining their existing security products and up-grading where necessary.
During lockdown we have posted replacement keys and bolts, replaced stock at our approved dealers and been busy working on the development and production of new products too - security development never stops.
Whilst caravan, motorhome and motorsport race van owners have been busy fitting our trackers so they know if any unwanted visitors are visiting their vehicles during lockdown.
We are back in the factory in sunny Shropshire (socially distanced of course!) and are proudly making our world-renowned products.
British-made you can't beat it (especially right now!) - even better with the Bulldog logo on too!
It can be difficult finding enough things to remain occupied during the long days of lockdown - but here's a thought. Why not focus on securing your property and get all those jobs done that you've been meaning to do but haven't gotten around to?
The high-speed hustle and bustle of 'normal' life often means security is put on the back burner for another day - but life is far from normal right now which provides a great opportunity to ensure the home, garage, shed and any other outbuildings you may have can be locked up securely.
And good, tight security doesn't have to cost a fortune. Simple precautions with quality products are extremely efficient, and cost-effective, particularly when you think of the consequences of having your valued possessions stolen.
- Chains and padlocks - Sheds, garages and other outbuildings contain all those personal possessions you can't or don't want to keep in the house. They can be easy targets for thieves, protected generally by only the flimsiest of security measures. There are a range of chains, security locks and chains with padlocks which can be most effective in securing these outbuildings and keeping your property safe.
- Garage/roller shutter door locks - Secured to the ground, an additional layer of security which makes it difficult for the thief to access the garage. Difficult is good when it comes to a deterrent as the thief often gives up after seeing these tougher than normal measures in place and heads off to look for an easier target.
- Security posts - A marvellous device which can be installed simply in front of doors making it impossible to remove the larger items like mowers, quad bikes and machinery from garages, sheds and other outbuildings. The posts can be unlocked and removed easily by the property owner. Security posts are also ideal for 'wedging' a vehicle between post and a wall if no garage is available and it has to be kept in an open area outside the home.
- Shed and workshop door lock - A high security double lock and another hugely effective deterrent when used to secure gates, sliding doors and double doors. It is also the security device of choice if you are looking to secure storage containers.
- Security lighting - Thieves always like to avoid the spotlight and that is why we always advise people to consider installing lighting as an essential addition to their security. Lighting is operated by sensors so as well as alerting you to something untoward going on, it is also pretty successful at scaring off the thief. Lighting can be installed to cover all areas of the garden, outbuildings and shed locations, in addition to helping to protect your home.
Like so many other companies we have had to temporarily close our doors due to Covid-19 - but our fabulous customer care service is still carrying on behind the scenes.
These are tough times and even though we can't operate as normal, we can still offer the help, advice and reassurance to customers who have questions about their security .
The current crisis is having devastating effects across the world but through the worst of times we are also seeing the best in many people and we have been inspired by the stories of help and support which continue to shine through.
We are proud to be a UK manufacturer and equally proud of businesses across Shropshire which are continuing as a key industry at this time, for those who have adapted their business to survive and those who are on the frontline in this pandemic.
We are still here to help
It's important for people to know that while we are fully respecting the isolation and social distancing rules we are still active through our social media platforms and have been dealing with enquiries through Facebook about replacement keys, how locks work and answering all sorts of other security questions which people need answering at this time.
Customers have had the confidence of knowing that, being a UK-based manufacturer, they've always been able to get hold of someone at Bulldog at times when other countries around the world went into lockdown.
We have been liaising with our distributors including caravan dealers across the UK, who we know have seen a spike in purchases as people were forced to lock up their caravans and motorhomes at a time when they would usually be using them.
It's important that customers still have access to the quality security products we provide through this crisis and that they are available in sufficient quantity with our distributors to be delivered.
We will continue to provide assistance remotely throughout the crisis with the enviable first-class service customers expect from us and are looking forward to the time when some degree of normality returns and it becomes business as usual.
We are living through extraordinary times and while all our thoughts are focused on the coronavirus crises and the devastating impact it's having on day-to-day life, it's important to see that your guard doesn't drop in terms of security.
It's an unfortunate fact of life that despite the current situation there are those only too willing to gain from the pandemic and, sadly, thieves are still operating. That is why we are urging you to give some thought to home and garage security during the current isolation.
We regularly provide blogs on our website about the steps you can take to ensure you stay secure which are still available to view. We also have a comprehensive range of home and garage security items to help you achieve it.
Lock it or lose it
You have some highly desirable possessions and don't make the mistake of thinking you're safe just because you have to say at home at the moment. Make sure:
● All windows and doors are locked
● The garage is safely secured
● Any gardening equipment is locked away safely in a shed or other appropriate outbuilding
● You get an alarm fitted
The garden is the only place outdoors you should really be right now - apart from your one piece of daily exercise - so don't venture into your back garden without first ensuring the front door is locked.
Most of us are still inclined to leave the back door open, particularly with summer approaching, but this could be an invitation too good to miss for the thief. Remember, you are not immune to attack just because you are home!
Keep your car locked in the garage if possible but see that it's always locked if it must be kept on the drive. Vehicles are still being targeted by thieves who are only too aware that they are not being moved for a considerable time, allowing them to carefully seek out their prey and plan their attack.
Thieves even targeted the cars belonging to our frontline nurses at a hospital last week by stealing their catalytic converter off their vehicles as they worked to save lives.
Knowing you are not moving far from home affords them the time to remove any obstacles in advance and move CCTV cameras out of the way without homeowners knowing.
We can all let our guard down at times of crisis so always think about what you are doing on those rare trips to the supermarket to replenish your supplies. A woman was the victim of a distraction theft in one of Telford's Aldi car parks when another woman shouted "help" from a nearby car.
The shopper had just thrown her handbag on the front seat of her own vehicle before running to help. The person asked for directions to the hospital and while the kind shopper was telling her, an accomplice of the woman "in distress" was emptying the handbag before putting it back on the seat.
It's worth remembering that there are fewer witnesses around due to isolation and this is especially so in the more rural areas where our farmers are still working hard to keep the food supply chain going.
So it's all the more important for farmers and those people living in rural communities to heed the security warnings and keep homes and buildings locked and machinery, quad bikes and vehicles secured.
It's important that we all stay safe from infection during the present crisis but it's also vital that we ensure our homes and possessions remain secure from theft.