Desperate appeal to find Warner Brothers ‘mascot’ French Bulldog Winston ‘snatched’ during riverside walk in south London

An adorable French Bulldog who counts Colin Firth and Ricky Gervais among its celebrity “friends” has disappeared in south London leaving his owners heartbroken.

Cara and Sam Sheppard have launched a huge hunt for missing Winston after he was reportedly snatched from beside the Thames in Richmond when he ran off during a walk.

Mrs Sheppard, 36, managing director at Warner Brothers De Lane Lea studios in Dean Street, Soho, described her pup as a “character” and a “one off”.

She often takes the 16-month-old red fawn coloured animal to work where he is a “favourite” of high profile actors including Game of Thrones Natalie Dormer and Tom Wilkinson who famously starred in The Full Monty.

Winston has his own title at Warner Brothers – senior vice president of toys, snacks and shoelaces and chewable recreation – and is recognised as the company’s unofficial mascot.

Winston disappeared from Richmond on Sunday (Cara Sheppard)

He is also “well known” around Soho and near his owner’s home in Richmond, Mrs Sheppard said.

She told the Standard: “Winston is always in the bar at work and he is firm favourite with some big names.

“He well known in Soho and businesses in Richmond all have pictures of him up. He is a real character, he attracts a lot of attention.”

The dog is a favourite with big name stars (Cara Sheppard)

The pup has his own Instagram account that has amassed 2,036 since Mr and Mrs Sheppard took him home just over a year ago.

The desperate couple say they haven’t slept since he disappeared around 9pm on Sunday while out walking with Mr Sheppard.

The heartbroken dog owner was on the phone with Winston by his side outside the White Cross Pub. 

Winston with his owner Cara (Cara Sheppard)

Mrs Sheppard said: “He usually runs ahead off lead and is normally very obedient but on this occasion he ran off.”

The couple believe their pet was stolen as he “disappeared” just feet from where fled.

“We think he was stolen. We have been shown CCTV where you see Sam walking with him then he runs off and completely disappears.

Winston’s owners are desperate for his return (Cara Sheppard)

“For no one to have seen him makes me think he was picked up and snatched. He is striking and there is not another dog like him,” Mrs Sheppard added.

The couple are offering a £1,000 reward for the return of Winston. 

In an emotional appeal to anyone with information Mrs Sheppard said: “Just let him come back to his family.

“If you drop him at a vets or contact us anonymously we don’t mind. We just want him back safely.” 

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Scotland Yard said it is treating the incident as a theft and officers would be investigating any further evidence that came to lights.

Anyone with any information about Winston’s whereabouts is asked to contact Cara Sheppard on 07584702804.

A Facebook page has been set up in the search for Winston.

Follow his family’s progress on Twitter using the hashtag #whereswinston and on Instagram.

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