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Jemima's lost her cat and calls the cops

Luffy | Tuesday, June 19, 2007 | 0 comments
When the distress call came, police arrived in double quick time.

As two uniformed officers, in a marked squad car, tore through the streets of London, local residents feared the worst - drug barons or ruthless criminals, perhaps, on the loose.

Not, it is safe to say, Hugh Grant and Jemima Khan's missing Bengal cats.
Emergency: policewomen and Hugh Grant swing into action to find the highly priced cat

Nonetheless, London's Metropolitan police force saw fit to send the female officers to respond to a call made by the 33-year-old heiress, reporting the disappearance of her two furry friends.

Although one of the prized, £900 creatures has been since located, Miss Khan rang the police on Sunday afternoon after being unable to locate its sibling.

Within 24 hours, a task force was sent out to investigate the rather puzzling case, giving it priority status on the basis that the errant Bengal - a highly sought after cross-bred between domestic short-haired and Asian leopard cats - was "high value property".

Anxious abot her pet: Jemima Khan

Helped by the 46-year-old Notting Hill star, police searched high and low for the wayward puss, but to no avail.

With no evidence to suggest that the animal's disappearance was suspicious - despite high levels of black-market Bengal trading - the police are unlikely to invest further resources on the case, however.

The cat, a gift from Grant to Miss Khan during the couple's three year relationship, remains at large.

Miss Khan and Grant, who are rumoured to have got engaged since splitting in February, are understandably distressed about the missing creature.

However, with crime rates rising and police response rates falling below their own target response times, the case calls into question the nature of police priorities.

Khan has put up copies of this poster around her neighbourhood

A Scotland Yard spokesman defended the police's rather enthusiastic response.

"A call was logged on the 18th June but police officers did not attend the address until the 19th," he said on Tuesday.

"It was not treated as a 999 call, but because of the high value of the missing property - a Bengal cat is not your average moggy - we feel that the response was perfectly normal and proportionate to the value.

"Although the cat is believed to be at large, there is no evidence to suggest that the cat's disappearance is suspicious and unless further evidence emerges to the contrary, no further action will be taken."

With black-market pedigree Bengals fetching up to £2,000 per animal, there are fears that it may have been stolen.

Peter Edwards, from the Bengal Cat Club of Great Britain, said: "Bengal cats used to be targeted by thieves ten years ago when they sold for several thousand pounds."

"But without the paperwork proving their origin they probably aren't worth much more than any other pedigree cat. Their history makes them unique though - they are derived form an Asian leopard cat.

"I hope Jemima gets her cats back but I don't think she will. They don't tend to wander off and if someone has taken them they are more likely to just sell it on."
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