Dog walkers report suspicious activity at Snelsmore Common
The reports stem back to November when the female driver of a dark blue Vauxhall Astra was first approached by walkers on the common.
One resident who wished to remain anonymous, who lives near to Snelsmore Common and would frequently walk her three dogs there, said that twice friends of hers had approached the woman.
“The first time she said she was taking pictures for her daughter,” said the resident. “The next time she said she was a professional photographer and was trying to get peoples’ names and addresses.
“Three days later I was doing my normal dog walk and I noticed a vehicle parked in a really random place. It was hard to get past her.
“She had a good vantage point of my garden. She matched the description of the lady spotted at Snelsmore Common. She was there for about 45-minutes.”
She reported the incident to the police and during a visit by a police community support officer, five stones were found to have been placed on top of a gate which led to the property’s garden, thought to have been a trap to see how often the gate was opened.
The following week, the resident said a silver Vauxhall Corsa van was parked in the same place, however sped off so quickly that its wheels spun when she moved to approach it.
She has since stopped walking her dogs on the common, no longer leaves her dogs unattended in her garden, and often sets an alarm on her house.
Another concerned resident, whose sister has reported similar concerns to him, said: “There has been issues of people taking photographs of dogs up there, people hanging around in cars.
“They have said ‘we are photographers’ or ‘we collect pictures of dogs’. People have been very suspicious.
“People are incredibly nervous because their dogs are their lives.
“It’s caused quite a fury with the dog walking fraternity at Snelsmore Common.
“It’s causing a raucous so much so that people are not taking their dogs up there anymore when they’ve been going there for years.”
In December, concerns were also voiced on social media about dog thieves operating in the area. DontBullyMyBreed group @Staffie_Lovers tweeted: “Have been informed houses in Newbury Berkshire been marked with a white dot by possible dog thieves if in area keep an eye out.”
At the time of the Newbury Weekly News going to press, Thames Valley Police had not confirmed if anyone had been approached in connection with the issue.
Have you been affected or noticed any suspicious behaviour similar to the above? Let reporter Ellis Barker know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org