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Pet dog Archie stolen from outside Marks and Spencer in Hampstead

PUBLISHED: 07:00 25 April 2013 | UPDATED: 18:32 25 April 2013

Archie was stolen from outside Marks & Spencer in Hampstead. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archie was stolen from outside Marks & Spencer in Hampstead. Picture: Polly Hancock

Polly Hancock

A beloved pet dog who inspired a character in a hit book has been stolen from outside Marks & Spencer as his owner was shopping.

Owner Shelley King has been handing out posters appealing for information about missing pet Archie. Picture: Polly HancockOwner Shelley King has been handing out posters appealing for information about missing pet Archie. Picture: Polly Hancock

Actress Shelley King turned her eyes away from pet dog Archie for just a moment when he was snatched outside M&S in Pond Street, Hampstead, on Monday.

She has made a heartfelt appeal for information about the whereabouts of the 13-year-old Norfolk terrier, who has a slipped disc and is in need of medication.

Posters have been put up all over Hampstead Heath and police are also investigating the dog napping.

Ms King, 57, who lives in Hampstead, said: “I felt awful. It was my worst nightmare because I don’t usually leave Archie outside. My partner or I usually stand with him, but it was just a quick thing.

“I’d just picked him up from the dog sitter and we’d been for a walk on Hampstead Heath and I thought, ‘You’re being stupid, there are other dogs out here.’

“It’s the worst thing. You can’t just steal a 13-year-old dog, it’s a responsibility to have an old dog. He’s a real terrier, he’s got a strong will and personality.”

Staff at M&S’s Hampstead branch confirmed there have been no other incidents of dogs being stolen outside the store.

Archie was tied to railings outside the shop when he was taken sometime between 5.15pm and 5.35pm.

M&S staff are helping police with their enquiries and the store’s CCTV footage will be reviewed as part of the investigation.

Archie is connected with a family who have lived in Hampstead for half a century and he originally belonged to Ms King’s mother-in-law, the artist Rosie Harrison.

When she died Archie went to live with her daughter, actor and director Trilby James, 49, and her civil partner, Ms King.

Archie also inspired the character of a dog in author Sita Brahmachari’s book Artichoke Hearts, which won the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize in 2011.

Although Norfolk terriers can be worth up to £500 when at breeding age, Archie is unlikely to be valuable.

Between April 2012 and March this year Camden Police investigated seven dog thefts, which have included dogs being left tied to railings and stolen in burglaries, as well as other incidents.

Anyone with information about Archie is asked to call Camden Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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