Have your pets ever pinched something from you? Well, you’re not alone.

As much as we love our pets, we have to admit that sometimes they can be sneaky thieves. A survey by security brand ADT has revealed that over half of pet owners (52 per cent) admit their pet regularly nicks from them.

And it’s costing us! ADT believes pet pilfering is costing the nation a staggering £305 million, with items including money, post, food and even underwear among the stolen belongings. The research revealed owners lose £49.34 on average to their light pawed pets, but shockingly, one in 16 owners has been burgled to the tune of over £150.

Surprisingly, the worst offenders were birds, with 59 per cent found guilty, but man’s best friend is not far behind. Fifty-eight per cent have been caught with their paw in the proverbial cookie jar, compared to only 47 per cent of cats. The real number of pet thieves could be even higher, as a further 15 per cent of owners said they suspect their beloved animal is stealing but can’t prove it.

Top items stolen by pets

  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 showed some old pets are teaching themselves new tricks – 35 per cent learnt to undo food packaging, 30 per cent can now open doors and 12 per cent can unlock handbags to get to their loot. It was also revealed that one in 25 owners have fallen out with someone as a result of their pet’s actions. Six per cent are even too embarrassed to return stolen items.

Surprisingly, 76 per cent of dog owners said their dog didn’t alert them to a burglar in the home, whereas birds actually made the best burglar alarm, as well as the best thieves.

Catching them out

One in ten of the 1000 owners surveyed said they were at a loss as to how to make the thieving stop. To combat this crime wave, ADT have teamed up with Instagram superdog Pumba the Chow Chow (@thingsonpumba) 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 manage to evade capture, and identify weak spots in Britain’s homes by setting a thief to catch a thief.

Pumba the Chow Chow has teamed up with ADT to search for the UK’s first Pet Detective

Gabriel, the owner of Pumba said, “We are excited to see the potential candidates coming forward. Pumba has had her moments of thieving so she knows that these pets have a long road ahead to get clean. However, becoming the ADT Pet Detective should help keep them on the straight and narrow.”

The role is 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 a generous welcome bonus of £500 of vouchers for Monster Pet Supplies.

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.”

How to apply

If you have a pet pilferer at home, apply on their behalf on the ADT Facebook page. To apply simply upload an image of your pet in action and detail their suitability for the role using the following criteria that Pumba has set out for the applicants:

  • 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

For more information about ADT’s Pet Detective campaign, visit



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