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Fresh plea for Sprout!

A Staffordshire Bull Terrier owner still devastated after her dog was stolen almost a year ago has gone on the Paul O'Grady show to make a fresh appeal.

Sprout, who is between three and four years old and dark brown with a small white patch on his chest, was stolen outside Tesco Express, in Uxbridge Road, in July last year. His distraught owner, Charlotte Wise, had securely chained him to a bicycle rail before popping into the supermarket for five minutes. When she returned he was missing.

And with no news for 11 months, Ms Wise hopes that her television appearance may help get her beloved pet back. Speaking on the show she said: "We didn't realise these thefts were such a phenomenon. He was tied up for five minutes when I popped into Tesco, and when I came out again he was gone. It would just be brilliant to get him back home."

Ms Wise had owned three-year-old Sprout for just a month after adopting him from Battersea Dogs Home.

Ms Wise told the show’s host: "Sprout was really lovely, we are really devastated. He was quite distinctive looking when he was stolen because he still had his neutering stitches in."

Scott Craddock, from Battersea Dogs' Home Lost and Found department, said more than 3,500 dogs had been successfully reunited with owners in the past year, but admitted dognapping was on the rise.

He said: "There has been an increase in dog thefts of 24 per cent in four years. The best way to protect your animals is not to let them out of your sight. Microchipping is also a good way of tracking down pets who have gone missing."

Sprout's owners are now offering a cash reward for his safe return home, and on the show Paul O'Grady revealed he would add an extra £500 on to the total in order to increase the urgency of the appeal.

Anyone with any information can telephone Ms Wise direct on 07817 574 803.