Residents in Motherwell have sparked a warning after it was claimed that crooks were dressing as Scottish SPCA officers in an attempt to steal dogs.
A warning has now been issued to be on the look out for the bogus Scottish SPCA officers.
As part of the doorstep scheme, bogus officers tell owners they have had numerous complaints about the dog, and will confiscated as a result.
It is understood that the dogs being stolen are then used as bait in illegal dog fights.
The community council said in a warning that the bogus callers, who wear SSPCA copycat uniforms, have been using a brush to bang against a paint pot to identify the homes with dogs.
The bogus callers are also believed to have been targeting smaller dogs.
In a warning, a resident said: “ People are posing as SSPCA officers with very good copy cat uniforms going around houses with small dogs in them chapping doors and saying “due to numerous complaints we will have to confiscate your dog”
“They don’t have any warrants or if they do they are all FALSE.
“My niece nearly caught them in Jerviston, everyone needs to be vigilant.”
Speaking to the Evening Times, Scottish SPCA Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn warned dog owners that his staff would never turn up at a door without official identification.
He said: “We are saddened to hear of people impersonating our inspectors who work hard to build positive community relationships.
“Under no circumstances will an inspector or animal rescue officer attend an address without full uniform and official identification.
“The Scottish SPCA uniform can be identified by the branded epaulettes and logo across the front of the jacket. If you are at all unsure about a visit made by one of our inspectors please call our animal helpline on 03000 999 999.”
Police Scotland confirmed that they were aware of the issue.