Two Labradors stolen from outside M&S reunited with owners

Moment dognappers steal 2 labradors from outside M&S Twitter / Crewe Police
Footage on the left shows the dognappers running off with Denzel and Welly (Picture: Crewe Police/Dale Robson)

Two black Labradors have been reunited with their owners after two thieves ran off with them after snatching their leads from outside a supermarket.

Denzel and Welly were tied up at the main entrance to the M&S in Nantwich, Cheshire, while the owner was inside shopping. CCTV footage then shows two men running off with the dogs along Market Street shortly after 6pm on Saturday. Owners Charlotte and Dale Robson say the theft left them ‘heartbroken’.

But after an extraordinary social media appeal, the pair posted the happy news on Instagram.

They wrote: ‘We are absolutely lost for words at the power of social media and the incredible work of Cheshire police…. our boys are home!!!!

‘This feeling is like no other and we will be doing everything in our power to make sure the dogs are safe going forward. Thank you to each and every one of you who has shared, messaged, been out there, offered help and anything and everything in between!!!

‘We are driving our boys home as I type this and oh how we can’t wait to see our girls’ faces.’

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Dale had previously explained: ‘They are both castrated and will not be able to be used as breeding dogs.

‘They are family dogs and belong here with their family. They are eight and seven-and-a-half-years old.

‘We are devastated and we have two daughters that are going to be heartbroken. We just want them back, no questions will be asked.

Denzel will be barking if he is somewhere he doesn’t want to be. Welly will be shaking scared. Please keep an ear out for excessive barking as well as an eye out for them.’
Det Sgt Vicki Shelton had previously said: ‘I would like to reassure members of the community that we take incidents of this nature extremely seriously and are doing all we can to establish who stole the dogs, make them face the consequences of their actions and have the pets returned to their rightful owner. ‘Enquiries are ongoing and I urge anyone who believes they may know the identities of the men in the CTTV footage to get in touch.

‘You cannot see their faces clearly in the footage but we are hoping that some members of the public may recognise them from their builds, the clothes they were wearing and the way they run.

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Dale Robson I?m just putting up some additional photos of Denzel and Welly in case it helps anyone recognise them. They are inseparable brothers and are always together. I hope they are being kept together now and are being looked after. They are used to home comforts, cuddles and playing with our daughters. They are family. If you have them, please please do the right thing and return them to us or somewhere safe where we can get them home
Denzel and Welly are inseparable brothers and are always together

‘We also want to hear from anyone who witnessed the dogs being stolen or has any other information that may aid our investigation.

‘Perhaps you think you know where the dogs are, or have CCTV or dashcam footage that may be relevant to the investigation.’

It’s feared criminal gangs are behind a rise in dog thefts and illegal puppy farms because it’s a ‘low-risk, high reward’ way of making money.

Campaigners believe a surge in demand for puppies during lockdown, coupled with rising prices, means stolen dogs are being used for illegal unlicensed breeding.

A spokesman for Animal Protection Services, a charity set up to prosecute illegal breeders, said: ‘Many groups are switching from drugs to puppies because there is so little enforcement.

‘The law about licensing breeders is supposed to be enforced by local authorities, but they have only brought a handful of cases.’

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Be Diligent about Vet Visits. “Don’t wait for the signs,” Dr. Becker stresses. Focus on “prevention first.” Pets age fast, and when it comes to illness they are programmed to mask weakness, “they’re naturally secretive.” One to two visits a year is ideal, but if you suspect a problem, don’t hesitate, and don’t self-diagnose. “In the last two years I’ve seen four or five cases where people went to the internet for help, and by the time they get to the vet it’s too late,” says Dr. Becker.