Adverts: 0161 709 4576 - Editorial: 0161 709 4571
Mail Order: 0161 709 4578 - Subs: 0161 709 4575 - Webteam: 0161 709 4567

Ransom for stolen lurcher

A couple from Bristol have paid a thief a £750 ransom to get their stolen pet back.

Buddy, a lurcher, was taken from outside a a Co-op supermarket in Saltford near seven weeks ago. His owners, David and Mareth Cornock, received a ransom demand from the dog-napper and agreed to meet him in a car park to buy Buddy back. The thief had originally asked for £900 but settled on £750.

Avon and Somerset Police have now urged victims to contact them rather than give in to blackmailers, which they said made catching thieves "more difficult", claiming that if the ransom is paid, then the offenders will simply move on to their next victim.

The couple said they did not think twice about paying the ransom, but Mrs Cornock said the handover was a frightening experience. ‘It was very dark and it was raining,’ she said. ‘David drove round the roundabout and spotted Buddy with the man. ‘I just flew out of the car, called his name, he knew me and I just burst into tears with relief.’

A police spokesman said: ‘Fortunately, dog-napping is not a common occurrence in Avon and Somerset. But there have been cases where pets have been stolen and demands have been made for cash in exchange for the safe return of people's pets. While we can understand an owner's number one priority is the safe return of their pet, if the ransom is paid, then the offenders will simply move on to their next victim."

Police have released an image of a man they would like to speak to about the incident.