Kitten found! After being stolen from an Ilford shop, Pepper is returned to her shocked owners

The kitten was scooped from the ground as her owner stood at the doorway unaware

The kitten was scooped from the ground as her owner stood at the doorway unaware - Credit: Archant

A kitten stolen from under the nose of her owners on Saturday has been found – by a roadsweeper.

From left: Banumathi Kandiah, five, Mum Shanti, 39, holding Parashuram, one-and-a-half, Thulasi Kandiah, seven, dad Shanmugal...

From left: Banumathi Kandiah, five, Mum Shanti, 39, holding Parashuram, one-and-a-half, Thulasi Kandiah, seven, dad Shanmugalinrgam, Rasaram, 11 and Yasaothai, nine - Credit: Archant

Pepper was taken by a man who walked into Shan Grocers, in Ilford Lane, Ilford, at about 9.40pm.

The 'customer' came into the shop and walked out with the kitten on Saturday

The 'customer' came into the shop and walked out with the kitten on Saturday - Credit: Archant

As Shan Kandiah, the owner of the shop, stood with his back turned at the doorway, the man is captured on the shop’s CCTV lifting Mr Kandiah’s kitten from the ground and apparently stepping into a car before driving away.

But this morning, the “slim chance” of Pepper ever being reunited with her family was realised.

A roadsweeper who knows the family saw Pepper in a fenced-off green close to the shop, and managed to scoop her up and return her home.


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“It’s unbelievable,” said Mr Kandiah, 44.

“We thought we had a slim chance to get her back. We thank the Ilford Recorder for their help.”

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He added: “The children are so happy.

“They normally leave for school at 8.40am.

“At 8am or 7.50am, the cat was in front of the door.

“As soon as I saw her I shouted at them so they came and took the cat from me.

“They were really excited. It’s so unexpected.”

The security tapes show the suspected thief pulling up in a silver Ford Focus with a friend.

Mr Kandiah said: “The man didn’t buy anything, he only seemed interested in our kitten. I’ve been here for 12 years but didn’t recognise him. He walked past me but I was too busy and didn’t notice.”

His five children were described as being “very upset” after pepper was taken.

Pepper was returned limping on her front right leg and has been sleeping for much of the day – something which her owner says is unusual.

Mr Kandiah’s wife Shanti said: “When they found out, the kids were really very happy. It’s really nice she’s back.”

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