Lancashire is one of the worst areas for pet thefts in the UK

The most stolen pets were dogs.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

New research has revealed that Lancashire is one of the worst areas for pet thefts in the UK in 2023.  The study, conducted by the security experts at ADT, looked at the number of pet thefts per 10,000 people in each city to reveal the areas in which pets are in the most danger. The study also looked at data from previous years to determine the areas that have seen the highest increase in pet thefts.

Cumbria took first place, with a total of 406 pet thefts from 2019-2023, but Lancashire came in second place. Whilst it has more pet thefts overall than Cumbria - a total of 841 in 2023 - Lancashire’s rate of 55.6 per 100,000 people puts it in second place, due to its larger population. Lancashire’s total pet theft per 100,000 people is also higher than 2022, where the county stood in third place with a rate of 52.9.

Which pets are being stolen?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Nationally, dogs are the most frequently stolen pets, with 4,403 theft cases between 2019 and 2023. The versatility of dogs, ranging from household pets to working and show dogs, adds to their appeal for theft. Dogs were also the most commonly stolen animal in 2022.

XL Bully dogs were being stolen last year (Picture: Jacob King/PA)XL Bully dogs were being stolen last year (Picture: Jacob King/PA)
XL Bully dogs were being stolen last year (Picture: Jacob King/PA)

With 1,076 theft cases, cats are the second most commonly stolen pets. Cats are often targeted for their breed, rarity, or for illegal breeding purposes. The theft of 634 livestock cases shows farm animals are also at risk. This category includes animals like sheep, cattle, and goats. The motive behind such thefts could be for resale, slaughter, or illegal trade.

What is triggering pet theft?

Michele Bennett, General Manager at ADT UK Subscriber, said: “The rise in pet theft can be attributed to several factors, including the increased demand for specific breeds, which can command high prices on the black market. This demand has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw a surge in pet ownership as people sought companionship during lockdowns.

“However, the government has taken steps to address these concerns. For instance, introducing compulsory microchipping for dogs has been a significant step in deterring theft and aiding in recovering stolen pets. Moreover, there have been discussions about updating legislation to reflect the severity and impact of pet theft, potentially leading to harsher sentences for those convicted.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Public awareness and education are also crucial in combating pet theft. Pet owners are advised to be vigilant, especially in areas where pet theft is prevalent. Simple measures like not leaving pets unattended in public places, ensuring gardens are secure, and being cautious about sharing information on social media can help reduce the theft risk.” 

Related topics: