A family has spoken of their joy after a much-loved cat was finally returned home. Eight-year-old feline Benson had been stolen from a street in Chelmsley Wood in January.
Yesterday (March 16) BirminghamLive met mum Charlene Jones with her daughters Demi and Eden. They made an impassioned plea for whoever had stolen Benson to return him.
But in a remarkable twist of fate, the cat was returned to the family later on the same day. He had been sold by a thief to a family in Stratford-upon-Avon. Seeing him for sale again, his rightful owners had to shell out £60 to get Benson back where he belongs.
READ MORE: Alleged cat thieves caught on camera stuffing family pet in box amid ‘wave of catnappings’
Earlier this month, we reported that victims had come forward claiming their pets had vanished in Chelmsley Wood and later turned up on a pet selling website. The string of thefts has been reported to West Midlands Police which confirmed it is investigating.
An unsuspecting family from Stratford-Upon-Avon had bought Benson from the thief but decided to re-sell the cat after it would not settle. Mum Charlene said the cat had been left “traumatised”.
She said: “I had to pay to get my own cat back. The family [from Stratford Upon-Avon] said the [thief] also had four other cats [they] were selling.
“The family were re-selling Benson due to him not settling. The [thief] needs to be stopped. Benson is not the same cat. He is very thin and traumatised. It’s madness that [the thief] has been able to get away with this.”
And while they are glad to have their beloved Benson back, the situation is sadly not the same for other Solihull families. Worried Jodie Smith, from Chelmsley Wood, had told how her cat Arlo was swiped off the street at the end of January.
The mum of two didn’t know what had happened until a friend found the two-year-old pet on the Pets4Homes selling website. Jodie, a carer, added she believed the alleged thief had claimed to work for reputable organisations such as the PSDA.
Jodie said: “My cat has got a gold collar and in the pictures for the advert he has still got the gold collar on. [The thief] is stealing cats and selling them online. My daughter is heartbroken. We all are. He is our family cat. He is a cheeky little thing and he is gone.
“There are other families going through the same heartbreak. For a lady to have some money in her pocket she is destroying little children.”
Alongside Charlene, Jodie has launched a Facebook page to try and get her beloved cat home. She is appealing for anybody with information to come forward here.