Joy of family in Islington as stolen Staffie returns

Jessie, pictured here with John Cronin, went missing outside Your Local Express in Liverpool Road

Jessie, pictured here with John Cronin, went missing outside Your Local Express in Liverpool Road - Credit: Archant

A dog that was stolen from outside a shop earlier this month has been returned to his owners alive and well – just in time for Christmas.

Jessie was found in Dagenham Heathway

Jessie was found in Dagenham Heathway - Credit: Stephen Grieve

John Cronin and his family were left devastated when their five-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier, Jessie, disappeared. He had left the dog tied up outside Your Local Express in Liverpool Road, Islington, on November 10 while he went in to buy a drink.

Two and a half weeks later, on Friday November 27, a member of the public alerted security guards at the Heathway Shopping Centre in Dagenham, after spotting a dog that had been tied up outside in the rain. Staff then alerted local dog-warden volunteers.

One of the volunteers, Emma Mason, 44, who runs Scruffy’s Dog Grooming in Rush Green, Romford, said: “When the story about Jessie being stolen came out, there was a rumour that he had gone to Barking, so we already knew what he looked like.”

As Dagenham is close by, Emma says that she hoped the dog outside the shopping centre would be Jessie “but didn’t think in a million years it would be.”

It was only when she rang up Pet Log, the UK’s Pet Microchip Registration & Database, that Jessie’s identity was confirmed.

“When I got the confirmation from Pet Log, I cried on the phone. And when I told [my colleague] Debbie, she started crying too – we were all in tears!” said Ms Mason.

Most Read

Using the contact information from the dog’s microchip, Emma called Mr Cronin’s son, Stephen Grieve. Then she volunteered to drive Jessie back to the family home in Offord Road, in her van.

“Stephen almost couldn’t believe it was Jessie,” said Emma. “He was worried that the dog might have been hurt, but I assured him he was absolutely fine and had been playing with the security team, who’d fed him biscuits. One woman even bought him a toy.”

Speaking after Jessie’s homecoming, Stephen said: “It’s the best Christmas present we could ever wish for. We wouldn’t want anything more.”

As for Jessie, he was clearly relieved to be back home.

“He was so happy,” Stephen reported. “He started jumping around the place and we couldn’t get him settled for 45 minutes.”

Since then, he says, Jessie has been subdued.

“He’s just been sleeping for the last few days. It will take a few days to get into the swing of home life again, but he seems to be all right.”

Stephen is convinced that Jessie owes his rescue to coverage in the local press and on social media.

“We also think that because he was so popular on social media, someone may have tipped the person who took him off and said it wasn’t worth keeping him.”

No arrests have been made.