A brazen thief was caught on camera stealing a three-feet-tall porcelain leopard from the front garden of an elderly couple’s home in Melton.
The leopard’s owner, who didn’t want to be named, was having a bath and his wife was fetching some washing off the line in their back garden when the theft took place in Denton Rise.
He said: “I just couldn’t believe it. I think it’s really cheeky and disgusting and it has frightened my wife quite a bit as it was still quite light outside when it happened.
“We’ve had the leopard for about 30 years. I bought it for about £150 at the time from a wholesaler in Stoke. It’s a lovely looking thing and you don’t see them around anymore.
“We have it in the house because it looks quite nice but I also thought it would look nice in the garden. We’d had it there for about a fortnight and last year it was out there for most of the summer.
“It was right up against the hedge where you can’t see it but they must have known it was there.”
The victim said CCTV of the theft had been passed onto the police. He said one of his neighbours who saw what happened chased after a ‘tall young lad’ but he was already driving away and unfortunately he wasn’t able to make a note of the vehicle’s registration.
The victim added: “It all happened within a matter of eight minutes. All of my friends on Facebook have said they can’t believe what has happened, especially because the leopard is so prominent. For a start they thought I was joking that someone has come around here in the daylight and carried it away.
“It’s not about the money really. I don’t feel any animosity, I’m just annoyed and I think it’s awful someone could do this and that they did it in daylight.”
Police said the leopard was stolen at around 9pm on Thursday, May 14.
A Leicestershire Police spokeswoman added: “The occupants of a two-door dark green Vauxhall Corsa with grey/silver wheel trims were seen acting suspiciously in the area at the time of the incident. If you saw anything please get in touch.
“The victim has had the leopard for more than 30 years and is very keen to get it back. If you know anything about its whereabouts or have been approached by someone trying to sell it contact the police.”
Anyone with any information should call Pc 998 Stephen Waterfield on 101.