Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.
An award-winning 129cm-long rabbit that held the Guinness World Record for being the biggest of its kind in the world has been stolen from his home in Stoulton, England.
Darius, a 12-year-old continental giant rabbit, went missing on Saturday 10th April 2021 after it was believed to have been pinched from its garden enclosure in the property of its owners in the middle of the night, according to West Mercia Police.
“We are appealing for information following the theft of an award-winning rabbit from its home in Stoulton, Worcestershire,” a spokesperson from West Mercia Police said.
Darius was awarded a Guinness World Record in 2010 for being the world’s longest rabbit.
According to his owner, Annette Edwards, he claimed the title from his mother Alice, and he was her fourth award-winning rabbit.
Now, his dismayed owner, Annette Edwards, is pleading to the public to help track him down, saying the day he got stolen was a “very sad day”.
On Twitter, Ms Edwards urged those who took Darius to “please bring him back”, offering a £1,000 reward for his return and advising that he was too old to breed now due to his age.
Ms Edwards Doubles Reward for Her Stolen Rabbit to be Returned
Although enormous, Darius has not been so easy to spot, and after his owner’s initial reward of a £1,000 for the rabbit’s return, Ms Edwards’ desperation to find her furry friend has led to her doubling the amount on offer to track him down.
As £2,000 goes up for grabs, so too has Ms Edwards expressed her serious concerns that Darius would die if he was not returned home soon.
In particular, coupled with his old age, the special diet Darius is on means that if he is not properly fed, he is unlikely to survive.
“He’s such an old boy,” Ms Edwards said.
“If I don’t get him back quickly, he’s going to die.
“He doesn’t run around, he’s very slow.
“If he gets dumped a fox would get him.”
To help the case move along, she has also enlisted a pet detective to assist with tracing.
Ms Edwards runs a business breeding giant rabbits and previously Darius had sired many for customers who wanted a pet on a similar scale to him.
Nevertheless, due to his age, the rabbit has been retired from breeding for years.
It is understood Darius claimed his world-record title from his mother Alice and that he was Ms Edwards’ fourth award-winning rabbit.
An Unexpected Turn of Events: Ms Edwards Faces Online Abuse
Continental giant rabbits are known to only live for up to six years.
In an unexpected turn of events, this fact has sparked speculations on social media about whether it is possible for Darius to live to such an old age, and against this speculation, Ms Edwards has faced a wave of abuse online since the rabbit vanished.
“People think it’s a hoax,” Ms Edwards said to BBC News .
“It saddens me, but what can I do? At a time like this, how awful.”
Ms Edwards has denied allegations Darius was insured for six-figure sums and that he was insured at all.
She said she had been denigrated by various online communities for years, perhaps out of jealousy due to being renowned in the industry of rabbit breeding.
The RSPCA has also commented on the stolen rabbit, saying it was deeply concerned by reports pet theft was on the rise and said thieves are “attracting large value to pets” as a result of demand soaring amid lockdown.
Darius’ disappearance is still being probed by West Mercia Police.
Authorities have asked for those with information about the incident to contact them immediately.
Stealing Property in a Dwelling-House Offences & Defences in NSW
For most people, it is common knowledge that stealing is a criminal offence.
Equally, stealing property from a dwelling-house is also against the law.
The offence of stealing someone else’s property in a dwelling house in NSW carries up to 7-years imprisonment, according to section 148 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).
It is important to note that this offence differs to that of “break, enter and steal”, which involves actually breaking into secured property – such as through entering property via a closed door, or smashing a window in order to go in.
A “stealing property in a dwelling-house” offence does not involve ‘breaking in’.
The offender may have simply entered the property through an open door, window or gate.
As such, police only need to prove that a person stole something from a place that is deemed a dwelling-house rather than also having to prove that there was a break-in.
In contrast, the offence of stealing any animal or bird ordinarily kept in a state of confinement, or for domestic purposes carries a penalty of up to 6-months imprisonment or $550 fine, or both, according to section 505 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).
Available defences for a charge of stealing such as this include duress or necessity, or where there was no intention to permanently deprive the owner of the property when it was taken away, or where the alleged offender took the property with a genuine but mistaken belief that he/she was entitled to it.
Questions? Contact our criminal lawyers Sydney branch today to arrange a consult.