When David Corbett left his ground floor flat in Norwood, south London, on a Sunday evening to make a phone call and simultaneously give his dog a walk across to the kiosk over the road, the Thames lighterman must've struggled to fathom what was to come next.
Having only taken ownership of the four-year-old, mixed breed collie named Pickles after his brother John grew tired of having his furniture chewed up, Corbett's luck had been atmospherically high.
Pickles, the black and white Collie dog renowned for his role in finding the stolen Jules Rimet (World Cup) Trophy in 1966 pic.twitter.com/sDdVUVTeQD— Sport & Casino History (@CDCHistory) March 22, 2018
Strategically, the police advised Mears to agree to the deal, and an undercover officer was sent to meet 'Jackson'. The officer travelled to Battersea Park with a suitcase containing wads of newspaper, cleverly topped by five pound notes, and Jackson's identity was revealed as Edward Betchley - a former soldier.
Betchley was ultimately arrested, but his claims that he was simply the middle man and not the real culprit left the location of the trophy still unclear. He pleaded that the real instigator of the theft went by 'The Pole', and if this figure did exist, his identity was never discovered.
Anyways, back to Pickles.
After the free spirited collie obliviously stumbled upon the country's most in demand item, Corbett did the honourable thing and went straight to the local police station to hand it in; breathless, ecstatic... and still in his slippers.
Overcome by his obvious jubilation at finding the actual World Cup on his doorstep, Corbett did not take a moment to stop and think that he would now be the Police's number one suspect.
They questioned me until 2.30 in the morning. I wondered if I should've chucked it back in the road. I was up at six the next day for work."
Corbett was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing and the life of a celebrity could now be lived freely by himself and Pickles.
Pickles, in particular, lived the life of a star, as his discovery had gained so much attention that none other than the general election had been dwarfed by it.
The four legged phenomenon starred in a feature film, 'The Spy with the Cold Nose', as well as Blue Peter, Magpie and a bunch of other shows. Pickles was also voted 'Dog of the Year' and awarded a year's free dog food supply from Spillers. He also being offered to visit numerous countries; although Corbett declined the latter due to the six month quarantine rule after travel.
March 20th 1966 #JulesRimet #WorldCup #Trophy was stolen from its place of display. Pickles, a black and white collie, became #immortal for his role in recovering the stolen trophy days before the 1966 #FIFA World Cup was scheduled to kick off in #England.#soccer #history #dogs pic.twitter.com/SfG6YbXZLv— Non Serviam (@yalcin_izbul) March 20, 2018
As a result of his pet's unique discovery, Corbett also now lived a pampered lifestyle. The Thames lighterman hired an agent in order to make the most of Pickles' newfound fame, a decision which he says made him £60 a day and earned him access to a number of glamour events.
One glamorous event in particular saw Pickles and Corbett invited to attend the party in the evening of England's World Cup success over West Germany. Corbett must've been pinching himself, he'd gone from a normal guy living a normal life to a guy invited to World Cup final parties with the national team. Incredible.
It was on this day 20th Mar 1966, that football's World Cup 'Jules Rimet' trophy was stolen from a display at Central Hall in Westminster. On 27th Mar, the gold trophy valued at £30,000, was discovered by chance in South London by a dog named Pickles.... pic.twitter.com/NrQO6tId8I— Paul Wiltshire (@EnglishTreasure) March 20, 2018