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Police force using DNA to find stolen dogs

DNA profiling is being used by police to sniff out stolen dogs in Wales. Dogs must be chipped for identification by law, but these can be lost, stolen or removed, while DNA is tamper-proof.

Dyfed-Powys Police has introduced the measure after a spike in thefts during the Covid-19 lockdown. The force believes its new database - the first of its kind in Wales - will be able to reunite stolen dogs with their owners.

Insp Reuben Palin said: "The DNA in the dogs is linked directly to the dog, it can't be changed. "So if we do a warrant, or if the RSPCA come across dogs anywhere in the country, anywhere in the UK, we can run tests on those dogs' DNA to see whether or not they are a stolen dog."

Insp Palin said he believes the system and the threat of imprisonment will deter people from trying to steal pets."If a criminal has stolen a dog locally, and we've got this system in place, and we have strong evidence the person has stolen that dog through the DNA, there's custodial possibilities for that," he told BBC Wales' X-Ray.

The scheme is run by Cellmark Forensic Services, a firm based in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, which has provided forensic science services to police for 30 years.


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