Nearly 350 dogs stolen in the East of England in 2018 as thefts continue to rise

Nearly 350 dogs were stolen last year across the East of England, according to police figures.

A new Freedom of Information report from Direct Line Pet Insurance found 1,959 dogs were reported stolen to UK police forces in 2018, and on average, five dogs are taken every day.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier was the most targeted breed by criminals in 2018, while crossbreeds, Chihuahuas, French Bulldogs and Jack Russells were also popular among thieves.

Iain Edwards' dog Ellie was taken from his van. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The five most targeted breeds

  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier

  • Crossbreed

  • Chihuahua

  • French Bulldog

  • Jack Russell

Iain Russell's dog Ellie was stolen from his van while he finishing a job in Towcester in October last year.

He left Ellie in the van for a matter of minutes and returned to find that she'd been taken.

"There were personal items in the van, but they didn't touch them," he told ITV News Anglia.

"They'd obviously been watching me for Ellie and knew what they wanted.

"I've been ill, I couldn't drive for a week. Her bones are still on the seats and in the front of the van, and in the house, her toys are still laying around. I just can't get over it."