An Essex couple are hoping to reunite neighbours with stolen goods and put an end to their two cats' thieving ways. Brothers Eric and Ernie have brought home more than 100 items to owners Margaret and Eddie Boddy in Braintree.
Their finds include shoes, slippers and gloves, and they almost got away with
a cub scout uniform, but were spotted. The cats, aged about four, have been honing their criminal ways since they
were rescued as kittens after being abandoned at the side of a road. "The first thing they brought us was a shuttlecock, which they stole while
watching the neighbour's children playing badminton," Mrs Boddy said.
Since then, they have given the couple "a vast number of children's shoes",
often in pairs. "They will bring one home one day, and the next day the matching shoe will
arrive," she said. "Somewhere there is a man watching television with cold feet because we have
both of his slippers, which say, 'Keep quiet, I'm watching football', on the
Mrs Boddy said Ernie, the smaller of the two, was the more prolific thief but
Eric had also brought back "a fair share of treasures and the occasional
mouse and frog". She and her husband have come to recognise Ernie's 'special miaow'. "It's his way of telling us he's found something new for us," Mrs Boddy
said. She has managed to return some items to neighbours, but many others have been
donated to charity shops. "It does feel a bit like I'm handling stolen goods sometimes," she added.