ANOTHER CELEBRITY has fallen victim to the scourge of dog theft. Dancer Lionel Blair has told how he has been reduced to tears by the suspected theft of his beloved dog Florence last week from Nonsuch Park, Ewell, Surrey.
The 10-year-old crossbreed Collie disappeared on Wednesday last week while walking with Mr Blair's wife, Sue, in the Warren Farm area of the beauty spot.
Nonsuch Park has been the site of several reported dog thefts, raising fears that Florence may be a victim of the growing trend of dognapping.
Mr Blair, 74, who has lived in Ewell for the past three years, said he was feeling the loss while touring Britain in a show called Simply Ballroom.
Mr Blair told news reporters: "I can't stop crying. Florence is like another child. She has been part of our family for 10 years I'm certain she wouldn't just run off.
"It's very disorientating. But I can't let the public see how I'm feeling when I'm on stage. The show, as they say, must go on."
Concern is increasing for Florence, who is chipped and has an ID tag on her collar, as she needs medical attention for a serious ear condition.
After one possible sighting, police searched a property in nearby Tadworth but failed to find the dog.
Mrs Blair and her son Matthew, 23, have now left details on the missing dogs helpline Dogslost.co.uk and have put up posters.
The apparent theft of the celebrity pet will focus attention on the lack of resources to prevent dognapping.
Several hundred pets are stolen in Britain each week but police forces rarely solve the crimes.
A spokesman for Surrey Police said strong efforts were being made to recover Florence, adding:
"As Cheam Park is very close to Nonsuch, the local Neighbourhood Specialist Officer and the Safer Neighbourhood team for Cheam will make each other aware if there does become a trend of dog thefts from the parks."
* Anyone with any information about Florence is asked to call 0845 125 2222