A brazen teenager was caught on CCTV scaling her neighbour’s fence to steal a cocker spaniel puppy she claimed was not being looked after properly by its owner.
Shannagh Cookson is seen staking out James Daniel’s property in the incriminating footage, before she grabs three-month-old Penny in her portable kennel.
The 19-year-old admitted stealing the cocker spaniel, who belonged to the taxi driver’s eight-year-old daughter, as the video was shown to Manchester magistrates.
During the noon raid on September 30, Cookson appeared to check the coast was clear before invading Mr Daniel’s property, grabbing the dog carrier and jumping back over the five foot high fence.
Cookson (pictured above) was urged to give the dog back but refused and has now been given a fine
She then appears to talk to Penny before running off with the carrier with the dog still inside it.
Despite being caught red handed, the teenager has since refused to return the dog, leaving Mr Daniel’s daughter ‘extremely upset’.
The father-of-two, 49, who works as a taxi driver bought Penny for £600 and discovered the theft when he arrived home from a trip to the supermarket.
Another cocker spaniel he owns called Molly watched the theft but was not targeted and was found running around in the victim’s garden.
Cookson is seen above picking up the portable dog carrier with Penny inside and walking away with it
Cookson claimed she gave Penny the dog (pictured above) away to a friend because she thought the pup was being mistreated
Dog thefts rise for fourth year in a row as pets are stolen at rate of five a day
Dog thefts in the UK have risen for the fourth year in a row, with pets being stolen at a rate of around five a day.
Cases of ‘dognapping’ increased by 4 per cent last year to 1,959, compared with 1,879 in 2017, police figures show.
Fashionable flat-faced breeds made popular by celebrity owners are increasingly targeted as they can be sold for high prices.
French bulldogs were the fourth most stolen dog, Hugh Jackman is pictured above with his dog
Thefts of pugs, have soared by 500 per cent in a year.
They went from 11th most stolen breed in 2017 – four cases – to fifth most stolen last year at 24.
This is while French bulldogs, owned by celebrities including Hugh Jackman, were the fourth most stolen breed, with 51 cases last year against 45 in 2017.
In 2017 there were 20 Cocker Spaniel thefts, and in 2018 there were just 18.
Only 17 per cent of stolen dogs are returned to their owners, according to police figures obtained by Direct Line Insurance.
College student Cookson, from Bradford, east Manchester was later quizzed by police but she claimed she had given Penny away to a friend as she believed the dog was being ‘ill-treated.’
Penny has not been recovered despite Mr Daniel making repeated appeals to Cookson’s mother and father who live next door to him.
The CCTV was played at Manchester Magistrates Court, where Cookson admitted theft and was ordered to pay £600 compensation after refusing to disclose Penny’s whereabouts.
After the case Mr Daniel, condemned the teenager’s behaviour as ‘shameless, wicked and cruel’ and added: ‘This incident has caused me and my children a lot of distress and now the lie that Shannagh is spreading about the dog being ill-treated is simply adding insult to injury.
‘I spent a lot of money on Penny that I had worked hard for. I bought her for my daughter and I’m so angry that a person who I know just took something that isn’t hers.
‘It’s just so heartless, shameless and cruel how she brazenly jumped over my garden fence and stole my daughter’s puppy dog. The most troubling and annoying thing is that, this shameless rogue has stubbornly refused to tell police where she kept the dog or who she sold it to.’
He added that Molly is Penny’s ‘bosom friend and partner’ and that she hadn’t recovered from the shock at Penny being snatched.
‘My daughter loves her dog and is really, really upset she’s been taken away. I keep on saying ‘don’t worry we will find her’ and she says: ‘Daddy please, try your best.’ But I don’t know where Shannagh is hiding the dog – I’m guessing it’s the home of a boyfriend. Everyone was so sad Penny has gone. She was fun and a very good puppy. She was starting to become part of the family.’
Mr Daniel also said that Cookson’s mother had given him her daughters phone number after he presented her with the CCTV footage, and said she had been apologetic about the situation.
Molly the dog (pictured above) had also been in the garden at the time and Mr Daniel said she has been left traumatised
Cookson was seen brazenly jumping over the fence before taking the dog from the garden
Mr Daniel (pictured above) told the court how upset is daughter is following the incident in September
‘She was apologising, and condemning her daughter’s shameful act and begging me to quickly ring her mobile phone and ask her to return the stolen dog.
‘But I bluntly told her that, as a matter of principle, I would not phone Shannagh, but would hand over the mobile phone number to the police, which I did.
‘If a member of my family had stolen someone else’s dog, I would make sure and do everything possible to get that dog returned to it’s rightful owner.
Cookson is pictured above leaving Manchester Magistrates’ Court after being given a fine
‘I don’t want Shannagh locked up – I just want my dog back safe. In the meantime I hope that Penny will remain a burden and destructive guest in the house where she’s being kept until she’s returned home to us.’
The court heard the theft took place at 11.30am on September 30 after Mr Daniel had gone for a walk.
Miss Martha Dowd prosecuting said: ‘In his back garden he left his two small cocker-spaniels Molly and Penny, one was free to walk around and one was locked in a carrier cage.
‘Mr Daniel was gone for an hour and when he came back he saw Molly running around but couldn’t see the carrier cage with Penny inside it as it had gone. He went out onto his street and asked some of his neighbours however no one had seen her, he searched the local area but could not find her.
‘He has CCTV cameras but at this time there was a power cut and he couldn’t view the footage. However later on he did view the footage and could see a young woman going over his back fence and taking the dog.’
Miss Dowd said Mr Daniel had recognised Cookson as he is neighbours with her mother and father.
Mr Daniel said he doesn’t want Cookson (above) locked up and he ‘just wants his dog back’
‘On October 2 he attended the address her mother answered the door and he showed the footage on his phone, her mother said: ‘that is my daughter I’m sorry about this’.
‘He bought Penny in August 2019 and she’s only three months old. Shannagh has fully admitted to taking the dog and said she heard it crying, she was asked where the dog was she says she can’t get the dog back and refused to say where it was.
‘When asked how she would feel, she said she would still take the dog as she said it was being treated badly.’
|Rank||Breed||2017 thefts||2018 thefts||% change|
|1||Staffordshire Bull Terrier||172||88||-49%|
In mitigation defence lawyer Stephen Connor told the court: ‘In interview she accepted she had taken this dog and indeed she attended the interview on a voluntary basis. Throughout the course of her interview she raised real concerns about the health of the dog that she took and the health of other puppies that she says were in the back garden.
‘She has been open with me because she was that alarmed about the health of those dogs – the CCTV actually shows her on her phone trying to get through to the RSPCA but was being kept waiting.
‘In hindsight she accepts she took a foolish decision and she regrets that.. The dog was given to a friend the defendant is adamant that she hasn’t received any financial gain – you are dealing with a 19-year-old lady who had never even troubled the courts.’
Cookson was also ordered to complete a 12 month community order and 150 hours unpaid work and was told to pay costs of £85.