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DOGNAP: 2 ARRESTED.

Byline: EUAN STRETCH

TWO suspected dognappers have been arrested after a pet spaniel was snatched and ransomed for PS500.

A 50-year-old man and a woman, 18, were held as police probe a surge in cocker spaniel thefts believed to have been sparked by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge adopting a black puppy, Lupo, in 2011.

Detectives think the animals, worth more than PS600 each, are being stolen to order by an organised gang cashing in on families wanting to copy the royal couple.

The ransom spaniel, called Buttons, was taken from Catherine Jenkins' garden in Mottisfont, Hants, last year.

Within hours a caller rang her demanding PS500 for the two-year-old pet's safe return.

Catherine's husband turned sleuth and arranged a handover. He saw Buttons with two women and passed their car registration to police. Officers raided an address in Aldermaston, Berks, but found no sign of the chocolate-brown spaniel. The suspects were later arrested after Buttons was found up for sale at another address. They are now on bail.

Catherine said: "This ordeal has been devastating because we love Buttons so much. It is shocking that something like this can happen."

Three more cocker spaniels were snatched in Hampshire within 24 hours in December.

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ROYAL Spaniel Lupo
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 8, 2013
Words:210
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