Viral social media messages claim that men driving a white van with the registration number 7465 CGF are attempting to steal dogs for dog fighting in various locations in the UK and other parts of Europe. The messages include a picture of the white van.
The claims in the messages are untrue. News reports reveal that the van in the picture is one used to steal scrap metal and other junk in Norway back in 2012. There is no indication that the men driving the van were attempting to steal dogs. And it is simply not credible to suggest that the very same van has been used to steal dogs all over Europe over a period of several years. The ‘warning’ is nothing more than a variant of other ‘white van’ dog stealing hoaxes and should not be taken seriously. While dogs are sometimes stolen and dog owners need to remain vigilant, spreading false warnings such as this is counterproductive.
WARNING ALL UK MEMBERS!! STEALING DOGS!!
This van is driving round with several men in the back and stealing dogs from people walking in the streets. False plates.
They attacked in Peterborough yesterday then Litchfield this morning they have been spotted so far in Long Eaton and Oadby near Leicester. Take care folks. kEEP CLOSE EYE ON YOUR PETS WHEN THEY ARE IN THE GARDEN/YARD.
White Van Reg 7465 CGF
However, these warnings are without substance and should not be taken seriously. According to news reports, the van featured in the photograph was allegedly used to steal scrap metal and other junk in Norway back in 2012. A Norwegian news report features a photograph of the same van.
The image in the report has the registration number obscured. However, a side-by-side examination of the two images reveals that the vehicle in both has damage on the left front and the driver appears to be wearing the same sweater. The news report image shows a horseshoe attached to the vehicle’s front grill. The horseshoe is also visible in the circulating image, although it is quite difficult to see at first glance. Various marks on the vehicle’s bumper are the same in both images. Thus, there is little doubt that the van in both images is one and the same. The van is clearly a model with the steering wheel on the left side as would fit the road rules in Norway.
Norwegian police examined the contents of the van and found scrap metal and other items that may have been stolen from around the district. No charges were laid. And there were no indications whatsoever that the men were attempting to steal dogs.
The image somehow got attached to circulating dog-stealing rumours and has been passed around ever since. Of course, it is simply not credible that the very same van, still using the same registration number, could be involved in dog theft attempts all across Europe, including various locations in the UK for years on end.
In fact, perhaps because they are so common, white vans are often featured in dog stealing rumours. In 2013, another false warning claimed that a white van with the registration number ‘RH57 WSU’ was stealing dogs in various locations in the UK. This warning was also without substance.
Of course, the theft of dogs and dog stealing attempts are not uncommon. Certainly, dog owners should remain vigilant. However, spreading these false dog-stealing warnings will help nobody. Such hoaxes spread misinformation and cause unnecessary alarm. They make it less likely that people will take notice of genuine warnings. They also waste the time of police who must deal with various “white van” sightings from concerned members of the public. If you receive one of these messages, please do not share it with others