The shaken chat show host from Bandon, Co Cork, was enjoying a night out last Friday when burglars broke into his three-storey property.
He initially feared that his beloved pet dogs, Labrador-poodle cross Bailey and a terrier cross called Madge, had been stabbed when he returned home after midnight to find his knife drawer open.
The following morning the 48-year-old used his BBC Radio 2 show to appeal to his more than three million listeners to help find his stolen black Lexus Hybrid, which he described as “filthy, covered in dog hairs and full of junk”.
But despite being bombarded with texts, emails and tweets, he was unable to track down the missing 4x4 and instead made the 10-mile journey from the BBC studios back to his home in Wapping, east London, by taxi.
At the outset of his show, the presenter said: “You’ll have to forgive me, ladies and gentlemen. I am a bit distracted — was anyone else broken into last night, has anyone come home to find your home ransacked?”
He then prompted a nationwide search, offering the listener who found his car just £ as a reward, but adopting a serious tone to warn his audience not approach anyone seen with the vehicle.
“Shall we have a game of Crimestoppers? It’s a big, black Lexus, it’s filthy and full of junk. The registration is LT59 DDY.
“There will be a £5 reward for the person who finds it, we’re here until one o’clock. It’ll make gripping radio if somebody finds it.”
However, the presenter spoke of his relief that his pets had not been harmed.
“When I realised the dogs were safe I realised everything else was just stuff. It was horrible, don’t get me wrong. But it can all be replaced.”