Warning for pet owners after Bo’ness incident

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A Bo’ness woman, who was visiting her father’s grave, was tackled by a would-be thief in a sickening attack in Carriden cemetery last week.

The thug was not interested in the contents of the woman’s purse or handbag but another precious commodity – her two-year-old boxer dog Rocco which she had taken along with her.

Carer Lauren Gardiner (24) from Redbrae Avenue, was pushed to the ground as the thief tried to wrestle the lead from her hand at around 7.45 pm last Wednesday.

Tenacious Lauren held on to her beloved pooch for dear life, meaning that the thief was ultimately unsuccessful in his quest.

As burly Rocco, who comes from a line of showdogs, has grown to his full maturity that was no mean feat but Lauren was determined not to give in.

Empty-handed, the man ran from the scene towards a waiting van some distance away while a shocked Lauren phoned loved ones so they could come and pick her up.

Lauren said: “When the police mentioned that the paper would be interested in speaking to me, at first I wasn’t sure in case anything happened to me but then I though ‘the guy has seen my face anyway, why should he get away with it?’

“People need to know that someone like this is out there and he could easily do this again.

“At first he said to me ‘I like your dog’ and I just said ‘thank you’ and didn’t take much notice. The next thing he was try ing to grab Rocco. He wasn’t a big built-man though and I think that’s why I think I was able to hang on.

“Plus I just started screaming and wouldn’t stop so I think he became concerned that someone on the main road would hear me! At that point I just didn’t know what he might do to me.

“I was so shocked but I managed to get hold of my partner, who was on his way home from his work in Grangemouth, and when I got home, I phoned the police.”

The man is described as being about 25 to 30 years old five foot seven inches and of slim build. He spoke with a local accent. He was wearing dark clothing and a black baseball cap.

The van, which proved to be his getaway vehicle, is also of interest to police. It was white with blacked out windows and no signage and had a driver waiting inside.

Detective constable Karen Young from Falkirk CID, said: “The victim was left shaken and extremely upset but thankfully she did not sustain any serious injuries.

“We would urge any witnesses to get in touch via 101 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”