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Police linking two dog thefts

The disappearance of Milly from Snitterfield and Lily from Stratford is being investigated by police.
The disappearance of Milly from Snitterfield and Lily from Stratford is being investigated by police.

POLICE are linking the thefts of two female Cocker Spaniels who were stolen from their owner’s gardens within a matter of days of each other.

A black, female Cocker Spaniel, named Milly, was taken from a rear garden on Church Road, in Snitterfield, between 1.30pm and 2.30pm on Wednesday 8th March. Milly has short, trimmed hair and an Aztec-style dog collar with her name tag on.

Police have also confirmed this week they have received a report of a recently-trimmed long-haired blue roan, female Cocker Spaniel, named Lily, taken from her front garden in Bishopton Lane, Stratford-upon-Avon, at around 5.45pm, on Saturday 25th March.

A Warwickshire Police spokesman said: “Police are remaining open-minded into possible links between the two incidents and urge anyone who may have witnessed suspicious behaviour in either area on the times and dates stated to call police on 101.”

Lily’s owner Isobel Hall told the Midweek Herald that Lily had been outside for only ten minutes, when her husband realised she wasn’t there and started looking for her.

She said: “My husband, James, and children were at home and Lily was in the garden. We thought she was lost rather than stolen, until this weekend, when the police said they were linking the two incidents. There hasn't been any sightings of her."

Isobel thanked friends, neighbours and farmers for their support in checking nearby fields and the canal, plus handing out posters.

She added: “It’s sad enough for us, but I have four daughters, aged between 17 and ten, as well as a 21-year-old son, in Scotland, who has been looking on dog’s sites to try and help.”

Milly's owner Iain Wardman said he was keeping everything crossed that one day she will come home.

Speaking about the police linking the two thefts, he said: "It just seemed a little strange, they are exactly the same breed and they are both female."

On the day Milly went missing, Iain was at work and his wife Kathryn was at home, when she let the family's two dogs into the garden. When she called the dogs back into the house, only one returned.

Iain said: "There were some people walking up the lane, who have given their statement to the police. The witnesses saw two very overly-friendly gentleman walking along the public footpath, wearing sunglasses."

That evening, Iain said he looked all over the fields in the area, as far as Norton Lindsey, and made flyers that were handed out in the surrounding villages.

He continued: "I have to say the one thing I have noticed is that all the local community have been very supportive - unfortunately I can't thank them all individually, but they have been fantastic.

"The hardest part is the children. I have a 14-year-old daughter and a three-year-old son. It's so difficult trying to explain to my son about why Milly isn't here."

Staying positive, Iain added: "We have a third child due in four weeks and we have every confidence that Milly will come back."

Both Milly and Lily are listed on national website, DogLost. Jayne Hayes, the website's founder, told the Midweek Herald: "I set up the website to reunite missing pets with their owners, 15 years ago, after my dog was stolen.

"Through members of the public my dog was returned to me, but I was very disheartened that organisations don't always work together. DogLost is a voluntary organisation and it's a great success, as 85 per cent of dogs are reunited with their owners."

Anyone with any information that could help the investigations, should quote reference 244 of 14th March for the Snitterfield incident, or 177 of 1st April for the Bishopton Lane incident.

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