Posted 6th Nov 2017 by Peter Byrne
Britain's furry friends have turned into fiends, with over half of UK pet owners (52 per cent) admitting to harbouring a pet criminal
However, the real number of furry and feathered felons could actually be higher, with a further 15 per cent saying they suspect their beloved pet has stolen but they're unable to prove it.
Surprising data from UK security brand, ADT, has revealed owners lose an average of £49.34 to their light pawed pets, yet amazingly, six per cent of owners have been burgled to the tune of over £150.
The research also revealed it's birds who are the biggest felon, filching a whooping 59 per cent. Pooches also proved to be prolific, with 58 per cent caught with their paw in the proverbial cookie jar, in comparison to only 47 per cent of cats.
Reptiles proved to have the most extravagant of tastes, stealing items to the value of £209 on their lifetimes.
Top items taken by pets include:
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)
Research revealed older pets are teaching themselves new tricks as they pursue a life of crime - 35 per cent of pilfering pets have learnt to undo food packaging, with 30 per cent able to open doors and 12 per cent can unlock handbags to get to their loot.
One in ten owners are completely unsure as to how they can make the thieving stop.
To combat this wave of pet pilfering, the security experts at ADT have teamed up with Instagram super dog Pumba the Chow Chow 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 are able to evade capture, and to identify the weak spots by setting a thief to catch a thief.
The position is for a year's consultancy, and will be reimbursed with a new ADT Smart Home system which will be installed by ADT, a year's free monitoring and £500 of vouchers for Monster Pet Supplies.
To apply, all you need to do is upload a picture of their pet in action and to detail their suitability for the role using the following criteria:
- 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 causes more than just financial loss, with one in 25 owners falling out with someone due to pet theft. Six per cent are too embarrassed to even return the stolen items.
Technology is also helping owners rout out thieving reptiles and rodents - one in 20 pet owners have revealed they caught their pets stealing through their home security systems, with technology in the nation's homes getting smarter as pets have fewer places to hide their lot.
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."