A pug puppy bought with counterfeit banknotes has been rehomed by a police officer – who “fell in love” with the pup during the fraud investigation.
Gary the pug was sold for £500 but when the breeder went to bank the cash she was told the notes were fake.
Police were alerted by the breeder, 75, after she sold the tiny puppy to a couple who contacted her through a classified advert service.
She exchanged text messages with the buyers before the sale was agreed.
The couple arrived at the breeder’s home in Laughton, East Sussex, on 1 December and paid £500 for the pug.
The victim tried to bank the cash on the same day but discovered that the notes were counterfeit.
Sussex Police began an investigation to trace those who had bought the puppy.
On 5 December a woman, 20, was arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation – and a man, also 20, was arrested on suspicion of theft and controlling a thing knowing it was a counterfeit currency note.
PC Rachel Harding, who investigated, said: “The swift actions of all officers involved in the investigations team in Eastbourne mean we managed to find the puppy and return him to his delighted owner.
“A serving officer, PC Bradley Stadler, fell in love with the puppy and has since bought him, obviously with genuine money.
“He has named him Gary and has given him a loving home.
“Our investigation is continuing.”