Monday saw a significant milestone in the fight against Covid, when the government announced it had vaccinated the first 15 million of the population in the top four priority groups.

This is an amazing achievement and comes just two months after the first jabs were given. We now move on to phase two of the programme and to those over 65 and the clinically vulnerable.

This week, I will be visiting Black Country Living Museum to see the roll out in action and also to thank everyone for the work they have been doing. The work of NHS staff, the military and an army of volunteers has been just tremendous in making this happen so efficiently. I too have signed up to be a volunteer because the roll out needs support to ensure we go through the remaining priorities and second doses.

I have heard over the last few weeks that there has been a rise in pet thefts in Stourbridge and our town mirrors the national picture.

I have a dog myself and I would be heartbroken if anyone took him. Pet theft is awful and has a devastating impact on owners.

Dogs are an important part of our families - to dog owners they have no monetary value - just the love and joy that they bring to our lives. For others, however, they are a source of income and part of a terrible crime that rips through the heart of a family or individual.

The pandemic has led to more people wanting dogs and the price of puppies has risen a great deal. This has made dogs very attractive to callous criminals who want to cash in on a lucrative trade.

To give an idea of how lucrative, fashionable breeds like Cockapoos, cocker spaniels and cavapoos are selling for £3000 or more.

Sadly, the current system offers little deterrent and I would be looking for a move to address this. In theory pet theft can attract a jail term but custodial sentences rarely happen and now the fines are not a deterrent either given the new high value of puppies.

Much to the dismay of many owners, pets are also still considered as 'property' when stolen and dealt with under the Theft Act – despite the hurt of their loss.

I was pleased to hear the Home Secretary Priti Patel say she wants to look at pet theft because it is such a serious issue and I would like to see it become a specific offence with tougher sentencing.

Finally, although Covid infections are falling across the country, please keep to the lockdown rules and keep safe.