As the coronavirus lockdown shuttered the nation, slimming Britain’s leisure industry right down to “long walks near your home”, demand for puppies peaked spectacularly. The most essential items of 2020 might have been N95 face masks, but not far behind were cute little designer puppies. According to Action Fraud, demand for investigations into this kind of puppy scam was nearly eight times higher than last year. The breeds most commonly used in fraudulent ads, they say, are Staffordshire bull terriers, Pomeranians, labradors and golden retrievers. In one instance, a vet in Crewe discovered a puppy with ocular problems so severe it lost both of its eyes.