First happy-slapping, now trigger-happy dognapping - the Evening Standard reports today that dogs are being stolen from their owners at gunpoint on the streets of London.
Well, perhaps the plural is going a bit far - there's only been one incident:
The warning comes after a puppy worth £250 was stolen by a man brandishing a handgun.
[...] Dewayne Carrington, 23, a Metropolitan Police administrator, and his girlfriend were forced to hand over Bailey, a three-month-old bull terrier cross, after being confronted by a hooded gunman near their home in Greenford, west London.
Mr Carrington said: "We just heard this guy jogging up behind us. He shouted, 'Drop the lead'. I thought he was joking, but all of a sudden I saw this gun pointing at me and he shouted again, 'Drop the lead', so I did."
That was retyped from the print edition, so typos are Londonist's own. The attempt to imply that armed bands of gunmen are doing this across the city on the basis of a single incident is entirely the Standard's, but the paper does point out the pet theft is a growing problem.
For instance, there's petlost.com, a whole website devoted to it.
The dogs are either sold to raise money for drugs or held until the owners post a "reward" - otherwise known as a ransom.
Londonist would make some smart comment about dog-owners knowing all about the rising tide of filth on the streets because their pets create most of it, but this is no laughing matter. As regards the Carrington case, Police are investigating, but as yet have no leads. Badum-tish.