A labradoodle puppy was stolen from its distraught owner at knifepoint while out on a morning walk.
Six-month-old Waffle was taken in a “cruel and mean-spirited crime” at around 7am on Monday in St Austell, Cornwall.
A man approached the owner and threatened her with what she believed was a knife, according to Devon and Cornwall Police.
A spokesman said: "The suspect is described as being around 5ft 8in tall, was wearing a black, hooded top and scarf and spoke with a foreign accent.
Officers have been checking local CCTV and making enquiries into the theft of Waffle.
Police Sergeant Steve White said: “The family of Waffle are very distraught and upset at the callous theft of their pet dog.
“Myself and all of the officers at the police station dealing with this crime also feel very sad for the family over what is a cruel and mean-spirited crime, especially during the Christmas period.
“I am sure that someone, somewhere knows of a friend, relative or neighbour that has suddenly come into possession of a dog that may be Waffle.
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“Please contact us if you have any suspicions, as Waffle should be with his real family this Christmas.”
"Anyone with information is urged to call police on 101, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, quoting log number 0116 231219."
Recent figures show that the number of dogs reported stolen or “dognapped” in the UK has risen for the fourth year in a row, and now stands at five every day.
Figures uncovered by a freedom of information request by Direct Line Pet Insurance found that 1,959 dogs were reported stolen in the UK in 2018 – an increase of 30% since 2014.
It is believed that dogs are stolen to be sold on, and that breeds are targeted due to their popularity.
The most stolen breeds of dogs in 2018 were the Staffordshire bull terrier, of which there were 172 reported cases.
Crossbreeds remain the second most popular for dognappers. There were 53 reported cases of stolen cross breeds in 2018, likely to be due to the popularity of “designer” dog breeds like labradoodles and puggles.