David Walliams insists he's NOT one of the suspects in a dog-napping

‘Is that me on the far left?’ David Walliams insists he’s NOT one of the suspects in a Cardiff dog-napping attempt despite bearing a striking resemblance to the police E-FIT

David Walliams has taken to Twitter to insist he is not one of the suspects in an attempted dog-napping case.

South Wales Police have released an E-FIT of the three men accused of trying to steal dogs in Cardiff, with one of them bearing a striking resemblance to David.

The comedian, 49, replied to the tweet from BBC News, posting: ‘Is that me on the far left? I think I would remember stealing a dog!’


Not guilty! David Walliams [L] has taken to Twitter to insist he is not one of the suspects in an attempted dog-napping case. South Wales Police have released an E-FIT of the men accused of trying to steal dogs in Cardiff, with one of them bearing a striking resemblance to David [R]

David is known for his fondness of dogs, with fans joking he’s taken it too far this time.

‘Hahaha we all know how much you love dogs… you’ve been sprung this time!’ one penned.

Another wrote: ‘Tut tut tut, that is taking your love of dogs too far…!’

Others suggested that the other E-FITS looked like other celebrities, such as AJ Pritchard, Justin Bieber and Ewan McGregor. 

The comedian, 49, replied to the tweet from BBC News, posting: ‘Is that me on the far left? I think I would remember stealing a dog!’

The accused: David is known for his fondness of dogs, with fans joking he’s taken it too far this time



Lookalike: Others suggested that the other E-FITS looked like other celebrities, such as AJ Pritchard [L] and Justin Bieber [R]


Ew’ve got to be kidding! The third man was likened to actor Ewan McGregor

More than 70 stolen dogs worth at least £40,000 have been rescued by police in Wales and returned to their rightful owners.   

The rescue mission was the latest development in a spate of dog thefts which has been plaguing the country throughout coronavirus lockdown.   

Pet detectives from two police forces recovered a large number of dogs suspected to have been stolen from homes and breeders in recent months.

Awful: More than 70 stolen dogs worth at least £40,000 have been rescued by police and returned to their rightful owners after a spate of pet thefts throughout lockdown [stock picture] 

Dyfed-Powys Police and South Wales Police raided two sites where dogs and puppies believed to be worth tens of thousands of pounds were found.

Police observed several dogs being released onto common land from a nearby location in Briton Ferry, near Swansea, and recovered six dogs.

The owners of the stolen dogs have been identified – and they have been returned home to their grateful families. 

Cases of what is known as ‘dognapping’ are on the rise, with recent figures from lost and found organisation DogLost showing that thefts surged by 170 per cent in the UK last year. 

The figures have been climbing for a while, but last year the booming market for ‘pandemic puppies’ — in a nation looking for companionship during lockdown — led to a surge in opportunistic theft, as well as more sophisticated gang-related crime — with dognapping gangs removing microchips, raiding kennels and robbing breeders.

Terrible: Officers swooped on two sites in the Welsh countryside – Briton Ferry, in Swansea, and Carmarthenshire – after the prices of dogs rocketed during lockdown. Pictured: Some of the stolen puppies 

What’s more, amid rising reports of assaults on dog owners, the cases appear to be ‘getting more aggressive in nature’, according to DogLost’s Justine Quirk.

‘We don’t want to scare people, but there is an element of ‘nowhere is safe’ for your dogs on their own — not even in your own back garden,’ she says.

‘These stories are ever-more widespread — and behind every one lies heartbreak.’ 

A police spokesman said: ‘A further criminal investigation is ongoing.’

On the rise: Cases of what is known as ‘dognapping’ are on the rise, with recent figures from lost and found organisation DogLost showing that thefts surged by 170 per cent in the UK last year

Superintendent Cath Larkman, of South Wales Police, said: ‘It needs to be borne in mind that these dogs are not merely items of financial value, these are living creatures who feel pain and suffering and loss at being stolen and they are much loved family members in many instances.

‘One of the stolen dogs that was recovered at Briton Ferry fell into the water in panic at being released and had to be rescued by a police officer to prevent it drowning.

‘We are pleased these dogs are back with their owners.

‘As a police service, we take this criminality very seriously and our investigations are ongoing. We are grateful for the assistance of the public for their support with this investigation.’

Dyfed-Powys Police attended an separate address in Carmarthenshire, where officers found a large number of dogs and puppies in outbuildings.

Detective Inspector Barry Kelly, of Dyfed-Powys Police, said: ‘We had been alerted to this property by a dog owner who reported the theft of five bitches and 17 puppies on Friday, January 22.

‘On attendance, officers found a number of dogs, some of which have been identified through microchips.

‘We estimate there to have been 70 to 80 dogs at the property, with the total value reaching tens of thousands of pounds.’

Officers remain at the location today where work is being undertaken to scan all the animals for microchips and identify their legal owners. 

‘We have animal welfare officers, local authority staff and South Wales Police officers at the property today, who are making their way through the whole site scanning the dogs,’ DI Kelly said.

Plea: Mike Jasper is desperately trying to recover his beloved Ted after thieves punched him to the ground and ran off with the Sprocker Spaniel in Cannon Hill last month 

‘The problem we have is that the puppies won’t have been chipped, so unless they are feeding from the mother dog while we are there, it will be very difficult to trace their owners.

One person has been arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods following the warrant at the Carmarthenshire property, and is currently in police custody.

Enquiries are ongoing as officers search the site and look into recently reported dog thefts.

DI Kelly said: ‘We have had seven crimes reported to us in respect of dog thefts in the past six months. The officers in case will review these investigations and re-engage with the victims. As and when we find any link with dogs recovered from the two sites, we will be in contact with the potential owners.

Napped: Buster was taken from Woodford Green, Essex, last month, after his owner was approached by a man, a woman and three youths. Experts are now calling for new laws to make pet theft a specific criminal offence

‘Although we have made an arrest, our enquiries are still at an early stage, and we would like to hear from anyone with information that might assist us.

‘We also urge dog owners – and particularly breeders – to be vigilant and take all possible steps to ensure their animals are secure.

‘A number of dogs stolen in just one incident reported to us were estimated to be worth around £40,000, which goes to show these are incredibly high value thefts.’ 

There is little in the way of deterrent to would-be thieves, because pet theft is not currently a specific crime.

Instead, under the Theft Act of 1968, animals are regarded as objects akin to a stolen phone. In the rare cases where offenders are prosecuted — only 1 per cent of all reported dog thefts in 2019 — those convicted are more likely to be given community service, a caution or a fine than a prison sentence.

Taken: Flora was stolen by two youths after she left for just a minute while her owner popped inside a a shop in Wakefield. Demand for so called ‘pandemic puppies,’ has seen a 170 per cent rise in dog thefts over the past year

In short, given the eye-watering prices stolen dogs can fetch, many criminals are deciding the risk is more than outweighed by the potential financial reward.

‘Money is driving this,’ says Dr Daniel Allen from Keele University, creator of the #PetTheftReform campaign with the Stolen and Missing Pets Alliance.

The campaign is calling for pet theft to be classified as a specific offence with tougher sentencing.

‘The prospect of a small fine is not going to stop pet theft crime,’ says Dr Allen. 

‘Not when you could get little more than a £250 fine or a suspended sentence for stealing dogs that can, in some cases, end up breeding on puppy farms and making thousands of pounds.’

He argues that the law does not recognise the huge bond we have with our pets. ‘These are not inanimate possessions but members of the family,’ he stresses. 

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