A missing pets charity said an increase in dog thefts across the UK is linked to the coronavirus pandemic, and warned new owners might accidentally be buying stolen dogs.
Greater Manchester Police recorded 679 dog thefts between 2015 and 2019, according to a Freedom of Information request from Direct Line Pet Insurance.
However, figures for 2021 and 2020 were not available.
Across the UK, 2,077 dogs were reported stolen last year to 35 police forces which responded to the FOI request – though Direct Line Pet Insurance estimate the real figure to be as high as 2,760.
This estimate was up from 2,438 in 2020 and the highest number since their records began in 2015.
In Greater Manchester, 143 of 679 dogs taken between 2015 and 2019 were returned.
Dog breeds that are most likely to be stolen and their average price tag: