Wales

Dog owner's 'lie' sparked search for missing girl

A dog owner invented a missing three-year-old niece to get police to search for his wandering pet, a court heard.

The claims by Richard Dale Jones, 31, of Wrexham, sparked a major police search.

North Wales Police dispatched 30 officers and the force helicopter, RAF Valley was alerted and the local search and rescue service was called out.

Jones admitted wasting police time when he appeared before Flintshire magistrates.

He is due to be sentenced on 29 October.

The court heard that shortly before 1130 BST on 23 September, Jones rang police, saying his niece was missing with the dog.

He had initially reported just his dog missing but "not a lot of sympathy was shown", his solicitor said.

Officers were immediately dispatched and a search began of Gresford Caravan Park near Wrexham where Jones lived, and the surrounding fields which included lakes.

At one stage 30 police officers were involved in the search and were helped by members of the public.

The pet dog came back and the defendant said that the girl was with her mother on a visit from the USA.

But Jones' former partner told police he had lied in order to get the police out to find his dog.

He admitted making the story up when interviewed by officers.

Lost parrot

Jones told police he was depressed and was upset at losing his dog because he had lost his parrot two weeks before.

Defending solicitor Stephen Edwards said his client was a man at a very low ebb.

He had formerly run his own motorcycle firm but, following a spate of burglaries, had lost his business.

"His dog went missing, he rang the council and the police, and not a lot of sympathy was shown," said Mr Edwards.

"Rather bizarrely, he then suggested that his dog was missing with his three-and-a-half year old niece which of course sparked off a major police investigation.

"When he realised things were getting out of hand he broke down in tears and admitted that he had made a false report."

Jones also admitted stealing a Fiat car and trailer, stealing a catering van from a lay-by and, after being granted bail, stealing a battery for his car.

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