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Shipston dog owner feels blackmailed after paying £2.3k for return of stolen dogs

A DOG owner says he feels “blackmailed” after paying a total of £2,300 to get back his two dogs after they were stolen in Shipston.

While Matthew Carvell was overjoyed to have his two English springer spaniels – Connie and Alice – back home after their theft, he says the dogs were effectively held to ransom until he handed over cash at a travellers’ site in Oxford, where the dogs were being held. They had been snatched from his van outside the Black Horse pub while Matthew was inside.

Connie and Alice were stolen from Shipston on Saturday (58280785)
Connie and Alice were stolen from Shipston on Saturday (58280785)

Last Thursday the Herald reported that Matthew, from Shipston, was delighted to have got back Connie, aged eight months, but it cost him £1,000 and he still had no news about his other dog, Alice, aged 11. He feared he might not see her again but last Thursday (21st July) he paid £1,300 to get her back home as well.

“Basically it was a money-making scheme and I felt blackmailed,” Matthew said. “It was the same people using the same method for both dogs and it was even the same people I handed the money over to.

“They phoned me up, showed me a photo of Alice and then arranged with me to exchange the dog for cash.”

After the dogs were stolen, Matthew received calls from a man who claimed to have bought the dogs – the first for £1,000 and the second for £1,300. He said he would sell them to Matthew if he could recover his money.

Alice is fine and healthy and was very happy to be re-united with Connie and Matthew’s third dog, Bella, a terrier which the dog thieves left behind.

“I take all three of them to work all the time and I won’t leave them sitting inside my van again, I’ll take them with me wherever I’m going. I’m sure my dogs were held to ransom and that’s why they were stolen. It’s a lesson learnt,” Matthew said.

He has given a statement to Warwickshire Police for Thames Valley Police, which is investigating.

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