Animal theft stats have been released for the United Kingdom and GetSurrey.co.uk’s synopsis of them may contain one of the best lines ever when it comes to describing the range and scale of animal theft in the UK. But first, let me take… you through the Surrey stats:
More than 110 animals, including fish, horses, birds and dogs, were stolen in Surrey last year. According to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act, there were 118 reports of stolen animals to Surrey Police.
In Surrey, the reported thefts included one sheep, nine fish, 23 birds, 16 horses and 32 dogs.
If you’re struggling to visualise that information, worry not, because getsurrey.co.uk have provided a helpful graph to assist you. And looking at that sort of service, I think that we can all agree that here, we are soaring amongst the majestic eagles of local journalism.
118 animal thefts adds up to around one every three days (I hope this is clear as I haven’t provided a graph), but as getsurrey.co.uk then go on to point out, the figures nationwide vary dramatically, with Surrey somewhere in the middle:
The figures for Surrey are much higher than some areas – such as the City of London with only one reported dog theft – and considerably lower than other forces in the UK, with 30,593 animal thefts in Edinburgh…
So that’s an average of… wait… what? Thirty thousand, five hundred and ninety-three?!?!?
…although 30,000 of those were bees.
Right. Even if that seems a remarkably round number in terms of apian thievery. Does this result from one single theft of 30,000 bees, or (for example) thirty separate instances of 1,000? It could, I suppose, even be 30,000 individual bee burglaries, although this does seem somewhat unlikely. Maybe the police should mount a sting operation. Maybe I should be on stage.
Anyway, with the bees taken out of the equation, it seems that Edinburgh is only about four times worse to live in than Surrey, rather than the two hundred and fifty-nine times that we’d all previously calculated. Unless you’re a bee of course. Then it’s pretty much kidnap central and should be avoided at all costs.
I’d like to report 30,000 very small cases of theft, please Officer.
Now, I’m not belittling the theft of bees, but if we’re going down the route of including bees in animal theft stats, then what of ants and worms and other small things you thought wouldn’t usually be (no pun intended) considered as “animals” when it came to “animal theft”.
Hive (pun intended) really no idea who thought that this was a good idea. Surely now we’re not far from taking bacteria into account as well? And that certainly won’t make it any better for the Ancient Capital of Scotland, because in microbiological circles, Edinburgh is already notoriously recognised as a hot bed of Petri dish pilferage as well.