Elm couple make a national plea to find stolen Rottweiler puppy Wilma, taken from Beckton in East London hours after they had collected her from a breeder

PUBLISHED: 17:00 17 February 2017 | UPDATED: 14:47 18 February 2017

Elm couple James and Jill Wicker's puppy Wilma with a chew stick bought at Pets at Home just before she was stolen from their van while it was parked in Sainsbury's car park in Beckton, East London.

Elm couple James and Jill Wicker's puppy Wilma with a chew stick bought at Pets at Home just before she was stolen from their van while it was parked in Sainsbury's car park in Beckton, East London.

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Devastated puppy owners James and Jill Wicker are flooding social media with appeals in a bid to retrieve their stolen pet, Wilma.

Wilma the eight week old Rottweiler puppy, who was stolen from a van belonging to Elm couple James and Jill Wicker, while they were parked in Sainsbury's car park in Beckton, East London on February 12. Wilma the eight week old Rottweiler puppy, who was stolen from a van belonging to Elm couple James and Jill Wicker, while they were parked in Sainsbury's car park in Beckton, East London on February 12.

The eight-week-old Rottweiler was taken from the back of the Elm couple’s van just hours after they had been to Basildon in Essex to collect her from a breeder.

Wilma was in a cage in the back of the van alongside the couple’s other dogs, a Rottweiler and Belgian Shepherd, who were also caged for the journey, when the thieves struck in the car park of the Sainsbury’s supermarket in Beckton, East London.

They had taken a detour to show-off the new puppy to a friend before coming home.

James and Jill took Wilma around Pets at Home before parking in the supermarket car park and nipping into the store for a quick toilet stop.

Elm couple James and Jill Wicker are trying to make Wilma the eight week old Rottweiler puppy, 'too hot to handle, after she was stolen from a van, while they were parked in Sainsbury's car park in Beckton, East London on February 12. Elm couple James and Jill Wicker are trying to make Wilma the eight week old Rottweiler puppy, 'too hot to handle, after she was stolen from a van, while they were parked in Sainsbury's car park in Beckton, East London on February 12.

“We were only gone five minutes at most. But police think we were probably targeted by the thieves who saw her when we took her into Pets at Home.

“When we came out of Sainsbury’s we could see someone acting suspiciously by the van. We started to run but as we got closer the car, a silver Vauxhall Astra, sped off,” said James.

Since the theft at 3.30pm on Sunday February 12 the Wickers have tried to make Wilma “too hot to handle” by alerting Rottweiler breeders across the country, who have passed the information to vets in their areas.

They have put news of the theft and pictures of Wilma across social media and they are also offering a substantial reward for her safe return.

“We are lucky, we got her from a very good breeder and she has told other breeders all over the country about Wilma. She had also had her micro-chipped before we collected her and she has been flagged as stolen, so if anyone takes her to a vet they will see she is stolen,” said James.

“We are absolutely devastated, but we are doing everything we can to make her ‘too hot to handle’ so someone either contacts us for the reward, or she is left some where she can be found,” added James.

Anyone with information should contact James on: 07966602606 or via email jimwicker@live.co.uk, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.

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