Scheme to hound out criminals

DOG owners from three counties have signed up for an innovative new scheme launched by the police aimed at hounding out criminals.

Dog Watch was successfully launched in Wingrave earlier this year by the area’s police community support officer, Chris Baker.

She took the idea to the woods of Ashridge and signed up nearly 100 pet owners from the Leighton Buzzard, Luton, Dunstable and Aylesbury Vale areas who were keen to be involved.

Each owner was given a goody bag that included a £5 gift voucher, crime prevention advice, a booklet from sponsors Hill’s Pet Food and a small card giving a list of emergency phone numbers. The idea is that they put the card in their pocket and should call the police if they see anything or anyone suspicious while out exercising their pooch.

In the area surrounding Wingrave sharp-eyed doggie owners have been responsible for a crackdown on hare-coursing, fly-tipping, and drug- dealing.

Said Chris: “We see dog walkers as being our eyes and ears in rural areas and I’ve been delighted with the response at Ashridge.

“We’ve had people from as far away as Luton and Caddington, Dunstable, and plenty from the Leighton, Pitstone and Ivinghoe area who have signed up.

“Ashridge is an ideal area to launch this type of initiative as it covers three counties. Hertfordshire and Thames Valley already operate Dog Watch and it’s been clear to us that there’s a lot of Bedfordshire residents who want to be involved. We’re certainly not going to turn them away.”

A spokesman for Beds Police said this week that there was no intention of launching the scheme in the county.