Stickers, Dog Fights and Van RH57 WSU

First of all it was this message spreading across facebook

Any dog owners beware, leaflet droppers or anyone walking around housing estates.
Keep your eye out for small coloured STICKERS on gates or doors, gangs are marking how many dogs live there to steal and they are using them for DOG BAIT FOR FIGHTING.
Ring the police immediately if you see any and inform the home owners.
Remove the stickers immediately!
Red stickers are for big dogs
Yellow for medium and
Pink for small breeds
Please re-share and keep your dog safe!
This is already happening in the [local] area and could be spreading across the country. This is disgusting

Obviously like all information that spreads across Facebook. This is rubbish.

Snopes confirms it’s bollocks, and Austrialan bollocks at that, here

Now there is this variation;

Which adds the information about White Ford Transit Registration plate RH57 WSU, and seems to be in the Teesside area, because of the phone number.

However it’s not the first time Registration plate RH57 WSU has been in a Warning

It was first spotted on Twitter in the Barnham WestSussex area via this tweet back in Beginning of February.

There are no police warning about this amazing van. In Fact the Derbyshire Times, the only paper to cover the story so far, has reported that Derbyshire Police say Facebook dog thief message is a hoax.

In Short: Don’t worry about Dog Stickers, or people stealing your dogs for Dog Fighting until you hear a proper warning for a reliable source in your local area.

Update: EU08 UYE is now being mentioned in relation to a dog theft in Essex in Early February.

Update 21st March 2013: This rumour has not got a second lease of life, thanks to groups like Tameside Animal Shelter , who should really know better, continuing to posting it with the numberplate RH57 WFU.

Also this;

Update: 22nd March — Statement from Greater Manchester Police’s Facebook.

Greater Manchester Police has this month been inundated by calls and emails relating to the theft of dogs within the force area.
The reports refer to unknown men in a white transit van registration RH57 WFU or similar.
We would like to reassure members of the public that we have had no crimes reported of this nature so far this month.
What we are finding is that in some circumstances dogs have gone missing from their home address and then later found in the same area, however, due to Facebook rumours people are assuming they have been stolen before enquiries in the local area have been completed.
The transit van mentioned is not registered on any police systems meaning the registration is none existent. There has been no intelligence received in relation to this van or any other van taking dogs, furthermore, contrary to rumours, there has been no intelligence to suggest the offenders are marking up peoples fences with coloured paint to signal whether a dog is desirable or not.
The rumour relating to the theft of dogs by these men in the white van was started on the internet several months ago and has since travelled the world using the same registration and descriptions. The reports we are receiving are from Facebook users who have seen this and are making us aware. We are yet to receive a report from anyone that can confirm this offence has taken place.
Greater Manchester Police would like to remind dog owners that certain measures can be taken to ensure your dog is not stolen, such as chipping and keeping them in a secure area.
If you do discover your dog missing then please inform the local dog warden as they often pick up dogs from the street which have been reported as stray. If you have any concerns regarding the above then please contact your local neighbourhood office or call us on 101.
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