A team of crack pet detectives have been called in to help find a lost dog. Christine Bunting, 39, called in the team from Animal Search UK – run by a former police officer – after her 10-year-old dog, Gemma, went missing in Farthing Downs, South Coulsdon.

While the situation may be reminiscent of the plot of 1990s Jim Carrey comedy film Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, the disappearance was no laughing matter for Miss Bunting.

The team of pet detectives has printed out free posters and are set to conduct a door-to-door search if Gemma remains missing.

Miss Bunting said she called on the pet detectives as a last resort. It was organised through her insurance company.

She said: “We searched all over the place. We searched rabbit holes, fox holes and badger holes but there was no sign of her.

“I found Animal Search on the internet, they offered to help me.

“They have put up a reward after discussing it with my insurance company.

“I haven’t asked them to door knock yet but if Gemma remains missing I will ask them to ask around.

“They have been very helpful indeed and have offered me some excellent advice.”

Tom Watkins said every avenue would be explored to find Gemma.

He said: “Most missing pets are found within a few miles of home, the challenge faced by owners is making sure as many people as possible know that their pet has gone missing, and encouraging them to be vigilant.

“We’ll make sure that we have as much background as possible before we commence our investigation.

“We’ll check details about their normal routine, and their usual patterns of movement in the area.”

Anyone with information should ring the Animal Search UK free confidential helpline on 0800 4320340 and quote case ref 131197.