Fear after attempted dog snatch on Hampstead High Street

A cockerpoo. This is a photograph of a different dog from the one that was almost snatched as the ow

A cockerpoo. This is a photograph of a different dog from the one that was almost snatched as the owner does not want her dog to be targeted again. - Credit: Archant

A mum told how her dog was almost snatched on Hampstead High Street while she was walking with her son by a group of three men with a white van who appeared to be working together.

A South End Green mother was walking along the high street with her eight-year-old son when her cockerpoo was scooped up in a “bear hug” by a man who rushed from behind her.

The 45-year-old, who does not want to be named, was also taking her friend’s dog along for the walk.

She got a coffee at Kape Barako and had stopped for a second on the corner of Gayton Road around 11.30am this morning.

Her four-year-old cockerpoo was off the lead and around four or five metres ahead.

Suddenly a man rushed out from behind her and tried to scoop up her cockerpoo into a “bear hug.”

Luckily, he started growling and barking as he is scared of men, and his owner managed to call him back to her.

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The man claimed that he was looking for a lost dog, but the owner shouted back: “No way, you are just trying to steal my dog!”

She told the Ham&High that she then kicked the man around his knee joint.

A white van with two other men pulled up alongside them, and the man who had just tried to grab her dog jumped in, making a getaway.

The owner thinks that she was seen as a “really easy target as a Hampstead mum on the high street.”

She said: “It’s a good thing my dog is scared of men, if he hadn’t been, the guy would have scooped him up, and he would have been gone. I had a friend’s dog with me on her lead and my son so it was very scary.”

The cockerpoo was left “shaking and terrified” after the attempted snatch.

The mum said: “I’m pretty tough and better they get my reaction as it may make them think twice about targeting another women.”

“I’m quite a hardy woman.”

She is not, however, going to let her dog go off the lead in the future and she wants to warn other dog owners to stop leaving their pets outside Gail’s and other Hampstead coffee shops.

A Hampstead businessman who contacted the Ham&High believes that he has CCTV images of the attempted snatch as it happened almost outside his house.

His electrician ran out and managed to take down the registration number of the van.

The dog owner has reported the attempted snatch to the police.

She believes there was another incident around a month ago.

A police spokesman said: “Officers from the Central North Command Unit are investigating an attempted [snatch] of a dog in Hampstead.

“Police were called at around 11.35am on May 4 to a report of three men in a white transit style van attempting to steal the caller’s dog in Hampstead High Street, NW3.

“The suspects were described as three white men - one aged in his 50s/60s, one 20s/30s and one 20s.

“There have been no arrests at this time.”

Any witnesses or anyone with any information can call police at the Central North Command Unit via 101 or by tweeting @MetCC.