Could your pet be the UK’s first Pet Detective?

Light pawed pets causing havoc throughout Britain

Research shows Britain is awash with pet-ty criminals, costing the nation £305million

• Over half of pet owners admit their animal regularly nick belongings

• The cost to the nation of pet pilfering is a staggering £305 million

• It’s not all about cat burglars – birds are actually the biggest perpetrators

• Top items stolen include money, post, food and even underwear

• One in 25 owners have fallen out with neighbours as a consequence of their pet’s actions

• ADT has launched a nationwide search to recruit a “Pet Detective’ to help put a stop to pilfering pets

Britain is in the grip of a crimewave. Pilferers are breaking into houses and stealing everything from cash to underwear – and it’s costing the UK a staggering £305 million. You might even have a thief in your home right now… but who? Well, look no further than Fido or Fluffy.

If you’re one of the 12 million British households who own a pet, you could be the next victim. Britain’s furry friends have turned into furry fiends as over half of UK pet owners (52 per cent) admit to harbouring a pet criminal. But the real number of furry and feathered felons could be even higher, as a further 15 per cent say they suspect their beloved animal is thieving but they can’t prove it.

Surprising new data from ADT, the UK’s leading security brand, reveals owners lose £49.34 on average to their light pawed pets, but shockingly, one in 16 (six per cent) owners has been burgled to the tune of over £150. That’s a lot of kibble.

The research also reveals that ‘cat burglars’ is a misnomer as birds are the true scourge of the nation, with a whopping 59 per cent found guilty of filching (perhaps this should be renamed ‘finch-ing’?).

Pooches are also prolific with 58 per cent caught with their paw in the proverbial cookie jar, compared to only 47 per cent of cats.

However, reptiles have the most extravagant tastes, with the items they steal coming to a whopping £209 over their lifetimes.

Top items taken by pets include food (71 per cent), money (seven per cent) and even underwear (21 per cent):

1. Food (71 per cent)

2. Shoes (25 per cent)

3. Other pets’ toys (23 per cent)

4. Children’s toys (22 per cent)

5. Underwear (21 per cent)

6. Post (17 per cent)

7. Blankets (17 per cent)

8. Clothes (14 per cent)

9. Newspapers (nine per cent)

10. Money (seven per cent)

The research also revealed that old pets are even teaching themselves new tricks as they pursue a life of crime – 35 per cent of pilfering pets learnt to undo food packaging, 30 per cent can now open doors and 12 per cent can unlock handbags to get to their loot.

Which could be why one in ten owners (ten per cent) just don’t know how to make the thieving stop.

So to combat this wave of pet pilfering, the security experts at ADT have teamed up with Instagram superdog Pumba the Chow Chow (@thingsonpumba) to create a new role on the product innovation team – the UK’s first ‘Pet Detective’.

Pumba and ADT are looking for the UK’s most prolific cat, dog, budgie or bunny burglar, to help ADT understand how pilfering pets manage to evade capture, and identify weak spots in Britain’s homes by setting a thief to catch a thief!

The role is a year’s consultancy. The exclusive position will be reimbursed with a new ADT Smart Home system which will be installed by ADT, a year’s free monitoring and a generous welcome bonus of £500 of vouchers for Monster Pet Supplies.

If you have a pet pilferer at home, apply on their behalf on the ADT Facebook page. [Insert FB Link]. The application process is simple – owners simply need to upload an image of their pet in action and detail their suitability for the role using the following criteria that Pumba has set out for the applicants:

Track record of being light-pawed

Highly intelligent – comes up with ingenious ways to pilfer possessions

Intrepid explorer – capable of venturing far and wide to find every nook and cranny

Experienced at evading capture

– Full bag of swag

Pet plundering leads to more than just financial loss, as one in 25 owners have fallen out with someone thanks to pet theft. Six per cent are even too embarrassed to return stolen items.

Not all pet pillagers are getting away with it though. 65 per cent of owners catch their pet in the act – which could be because pets aren’t master criminals. 40 per cent don’t bother to hide their loot at all, and 39 per cent of owners admit to accidentally handling stolen goods as their pet simply gifts them the stolen items.

Technology is also helping owners rout out thieving reptiles and rodents alike; one in 20 (five per cent) pet owners have revealed they caught their pets stealing through their home security systems – as technology in the nation’s homes gets smarter the pets will have fewer places to hide their loot.

Lee Jasper, from ADT said: “We’re a nation of pet lovers but the research has revealed that the nations pets don’t always return the love – they’re thieving our possessions behind our backs. As experts in home security, we wanted to get to the bottom of this. As the best way to catch a thief is to set a thief we’re searching for the UK’s most prolific pet pilferer. We’ll use their insider knowledge to understand and learn more about the security weak spots that the UK’s pets exploit.”

Gabriel, the owner of Pumba said: “We are excited to see the potential candidates coming forward. Pumba has had her moments of thieving so she knows that these pets have a long road ahead to get clean. However, becoming the ADT Pet Detective should help keep them on the straight and narrow.”

Pumba added: “Woof.”

The research also revealed that pet burglars are turning a blind eye to their human counterparts. A shocking 76 per cent of dog owners revealed their dogs didn’t alert them to a burglar being in their home. Eighty-five per cent of cat owners also said that their cat didn’t meow when a burglar came in.

Surprisingly birds make the best burglars and the best pet burglar alarms – with 46 per cent of owners revealing they were made aware of an intruder by their pet bird squawking.

For more information about ADT’s Pet Detective campaign, visit www.adt.co.uk/petedetective.

This post was sponsoredby ADT Pets At Home.

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