I'm Detective Inspector Barker Harris of the Metropolitan Police Force, but you can call me Snuggles, woof.
During my long service as a police sniffer dog, searching out lethal explosives, illicit narcotics or naughty literature, I have placed myself in danger on a number of occasions, bark bark. So when I finally got promoted to the top job in the missing pets department, many people were of the opinion that it was well deserved, grrr, grrr, grrr.
Of course, my days sniffing soiled suitcases, smelly cars and strangers' bottoms may be over, but that doesn't mean I can't still have fun, growl, snarl, whimper. Neither does it mean that I have an easy time of it, oh no, growl, no. I don't just sit behind my desk all day, playing with a rubber bone while the Chief Superintendent feeds me Doggy Chocs, arf, arf, arf.
Did you know that we are currently on the lookout for over four hundred runaway animals, wag, wag, wag? Most are harmless, charged with minor crimes like fouling a public footway, destruction of private property or double parking in a loading zone, yelp. Others, like the six most-wanted listed below, are rather more dangerous and should be approached only with extreme caution and, preferably, a really big stick, yap, yap, yappy, yap.
No. 1: Larry the Fish
A well known character in the criminal underworld, it's generally understood that if you're after a motor then Larry the Fish is the bloke to see. He's steals cars to order, slipping in easily through the smallest of openings. Then he uses an ingenious system of wires and pulleys to drive it away.
His only problem is that he has difficulty seeing over the steering wheel, which means that he totals just about every car he steals. So, if you should be walking along one day and see a dirty great Mondeo pile into a lamppost, and a small orange goldfish leap out and leg it, then you can be pretty sure it's Larry the Fish.
No. 2: Ernie the Tortoise
A bit of a joker is old Ernie, but the punchline is usually a visit to the hospital for the unfortunate victim. You will normally find him sitting in someone's garden, smacked out of his head on weed killer and pretending to be a rock. Sometimes he can stay like that for hours, but if you should inadvertently draw too near he will sink his teeth into your ankle and hang on for dear life until you pass out.
His latest trick is even more fiendish. He has taken to crawling into the window displays of local bakers, disguised as a meat pie. When some unlucky customer eventually tries to take a bite, Ernie suddenly comes to life, scares the living marrow out of them and then runs off with the poor sod's wallet.
He was recently spotted pulling this trick in a busy street in Newcastle. Our lads raised the alarm and gave chase, but Ernie was too quick for them.
No. 3: Ronnie and Reggie - The sheep twins.
Very nasty characters indeed. One's mad, the other's mental. If you should ever cross them, the first you'll know about it is when you wake up in the morning with your feet stuffed up your arse. Of course, if you've made them really mad, it will be someone else's feet.
No. 4: Hoppity Fluffikins III
Now this one looks like a pretty harmless chap, doesn't he? But just try to imagine him stomping through your neighbourhood, wielding a sub-machine gun, cutting a swathe of death through crowds of harmless bystanders and laughing maniacally with homicidal glee as he careers inexorably down his blood-soaked path of horror and destruction. Okay, so he's never actually been known to do that sort of thing but... well...you never know, do you?
No. 5: Nipper Smith
Leader of the notorious 'Crabs of Doom' terrorist group, which was responsible for the recent spate of 'pinching' incidents on the Paris Metro. Also believed to be behind last September's whelk stall bombings, in which twelve cockles were seriously injured, and two scallops were killed. Nipper Smith is currently on the run after being involved in a shrimp-rage incident at a fishmonger's in Chester. He is believed to be armed and slightly dangerous.
No. 6: Truffles, the Gentleman Pig
By day he hobnobs around town, only visiting the most fashionable parties; only being seen in the most exclusive venues. Maybe you've been fortunate enough to have had him as a houseguest yourself, standing with one trotter resting nonchalantly on the mantelpiece as he regales your guests with extraordinary tales of derring-do in far flung Bombay, or deepest, darkest Africa.
"Oh, Mr Truffles," you may say, "You really are the most extraordinary of fellows, what with your 'andsome tales of travel and adventure. Well, I don't know, and no mistake. Do 'elp yerself to another scratching, then come and meet the vicar."
But beware, this fashionable pig-about-town has a secret. Whilst he's holding court with his posh talk, he's most probably eyeing up your silverware, or checking out the locks on the windows - for by night he is the most accomplished and elusive of all cat burglars. Gracefully he will drag his corpulent bulk up drainpipes, across rooftops and balconies in order to gain entry to your abode then have it away with the family jewels.
By morning the sparklies will be gone, and the only evidence of entry will be the curtains flapping in the open French windows, a carefully-placed monogrammed mitten and the faint smell of pork.
Approach with caution! Remember, none of these animals is friendly, and most of them bite. You have been warned.