Dog owners are urged to be on high alert after a man claiming to be taking poorly pooches into coronavirus quarantine attempted to steal a pet.
Cleveland Police has confirmed that a man entered a house in Marton, Middlesbrough, and told the victim their dog needed to be taken away to help fight the spread of Covid-19.
But when questioned by the dog's owner, the man walked away, got into a white van and fled the scene.
The would-be pet-napper is described as tanned with an unknown accent and black hair. He was wearing a grey padded coat and dark trousers.
"We are warning members of the public to be vigilant," a force spokeswoman said.
The RSPCA is also urging pet owners not to abandon their animals in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
It added that there is still "no evidence" that pets can actually become ill from contracting Covid-19.
Earlier today the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK rose above 4,000, and Health Secretary Matt Hancock put out a call for retired doctors and nurses to temporarily step back into frontline roles.
And in today's government press conference on the coronavirus crisis, which Boris Johnson did not attend, UK shoppers were urged to be responsible when at supermarkets and shops to prevent food shortages.
In order to increase deliveries, the government said it worked with supermarkets to extend delivery hours so people can adhere to social distancing guidelines.
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