A disturbing new trend has reared its head in our region.
'Dognappers' demanding ransoms of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of pounds for the return of stolen pets are targeting the south-east on an unprecedented scale.
The thieves steal a dog, then demand money using the phone number on the dog's collar tag - or make contact when reward notices to appear.
Animal charities fear dognapping is replacing metal theft - now in sharp decline - as the new route to quick cash for criminal gangs.
John Ryall has been speaking to Jonathan Ames, whose dog was stolen, and Wayne May a volunteer who helps find lost dogs. Click on the link above to see his report.