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Bogus Warning – White Transit Van ‘RH57 WSU’ Trying To Steal Dogs

Message circulating virally via social media posts and email warns that a white transit van with the registration ##Q##RH57 WSU##Q## has been seen trying to steal dogs in various locations in the UK and elsewhere.


Brief Analysis
There is no credible evidence to support the claims that a white van with that registration is being used to steal dogs anywhere in the UK or elsewhere. Police in several jurisdictions have had no reports of such incidents occurring. Police have also stated that the registration included in the warning does not exist. The warnings are without substance and should not be reposted.

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White transit RH57 WSU seen trying to steal dogs in Sussex & Salisbury. If seen please call police. PLEASE RT .

White VAn Dof Stealing Warning Twitter

RH57 WSU…. van registration of people stealing dogs in the Bristol area, if seen ring police asap, pass this message along and hopefully catch these people

White Van Dog Stealing Facebook

BEWARE!! THere are Dog Thieves Operating in the area. Please make sure your dog is safe & secure! LOOK OUT for a Ford Transit Van RH57 WSU

White VAn Dog Stealing Poster

Detailed Analysis
For several months, messages warning dog owners about rampant dog stealing gangs have been circulating virally via Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and other social media sites as well as email. The warning discussed here claims that criminals are using a white Transit van with the registration ##Q##RH57 WSU##Q## to conduct their dog stealing activities.  There are multiple variants of the message set in different parts of the UK, including Bristol, Somerset, Sussex, Manchester, Wiltshire, and various locations in Scotland, just to name a few.  There have even been some variants of the message – that often feature the same van and registration – set in locations outside the UK.

However, the warning is nothing more than baseless rumour. There is no credible evidence whatsoever to support the claims in this warning.  In fact authorities in several locations in the UK have dismissed the claims.

The Greater Manchester Police has issued the following statement denying any knowledge of such dog stealing activities and noting that the registration ##Q##RH57 WSU##Q## does not exist:


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 d
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