A Leighton Buzzard pet owner is issuing a warning to others after she was followed by a gang of teenagers who told her to give them her dog.
Sarah Smith, 41, of the Appenine Way/Meadow Way area was taking her canine for a walk by the children’s park near Tesco Express, Aries Court, on Tuesday, February 20, when a group of four teenagers in the gated play area started putting on “funny accents”, and asked Sarah to hand over the animal.
As it was around 8pm and quite dark, Sarah headed down the brook pathway towards the main road, crossing over to get to her parent’s house, but was alarmed that the boys followed her all the way to the Hockliffe Road traffic lights.
Sarah said: “When I walked up [to the park] from Tesco Express the first thing they noticed was my dog, as she has a glow in the dark collar.
“They mentioned that first and then they started doing weird accents to say “give me your dog”.
“They were talking at different levels so I wouldn’t recognise their voices.
“There was no-one else around and I was worried about my animal.
“As I went past I just said: ‘As much hope as a chocolate fire guard’. They started wolf whistling and I carried on.”
Sarah then headed down the path towards Hockliffe Road, but as she got down near the bridge (which is en route) she realised the gang was still following her, as her dog kept looking back, appearing anxious.
Sarah said: “She is quite protective of me and she’s always knows when there’s someone - I might not have seen them but she will know!
“Normally she will stop and sniff things, but she didn’t stop all the way down to Hockliffe Road.
“I knew they were following us, so I rang my dad, who ran out the door!
“He lives on the Brooklands estate so he came down, and as I crossed Hockliffe Road, he could see them - and when they saw my dad they turned and went the other way.”
Sarah stayed at her parent’s house for about five to ten minutes, as her dog needed calming down.
However, when her father, Ken Russell, offered to escort Sarah home and they began to walk back, the boys were at the Hockliffe Road traffic lights, appearing to have waited, and when the father and daughter crossed the road to head to Sarah’s, the boys “pretended to be on the phone”.
Addressing other pet owners and residents, Sarah said: “Please be careful; I know my dog would protect me while I am out but I don’t want to put her in that position as she would get the blame!
“Make sure someone knows where you are going and take a phone with you. If it’s near where friends and family live, try and stick to those routes and well lit areas.
“I’d also advise walking different routes, and at different times, so no-one can pinpoint where you will be.
“I couldn’t really see what the boys looked like as it was dark, but I would say they were around 15 years old.
“This won’t stop me going out!”
A Beds Police spokesman said: “We received a report that a woman was followed by four teenage boys while walking her dog in Appenine Way, Leighton Buzzard on Tuesday 20 February at around 9:20pm.
“The woman arrived home safely and we would encourage anyone who saw the incident or has information that could assist with our enquiries to report it via our online reporting tool or call us on 101.”