Stolen puppies traced through Facebook page

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TWO stolen puppies were found in Netherfield after someone posted pictures of themself with the missing dogs on Facebook.

The seven-week-old pups, who do not have names, were stolen from a property in Udimore Road, Udimore, on August 12.

The dogs, two of a litter of seven, were worth £300 each and were to be used as working sheep dogs.

After receiving tip-offs from the public, police launched a raid on a property in Darvel Down, Netherfield, on August 24, but found no trace of the missing dogs.

Just two days later, police received an anonymous email from a member of the public saying that someone had posted a picture of themselves with the puppies on social networking website Facebook.

On August 31 the people in the photograph contacted police, claiming they did not know the dogs had been stolen, but had found the animals and kept them safe in their home in Netherfield. They brought the dogs to Battle Police Station and the town’s Neighbourhood Policing Team reunited the missing pups with their grateful owner Leonie Wheeler (pictured), almost three weeks after they had gone missing and none the worse for their ordeal.

No charges have been brought in relation to the theft and the owner said she does not want any further police action to be taken.

Police say such crimes are becoming increasingly common in the Rother area with reports of another dog being stolen from an address in Bexhill within the last couple of days.

PCSO James Armstrong said: “It is becoming more and more common, especially with pure breeds because they are fairly expensive.

“It’s not rife, but it looks like it’s picking up again.”

Rother Wildlife Crime Officer PC Keith Baldwin said: “The work of all officers involved in this investigation from across Rother District was impeccable but more importantly we would not have solved this crime without the help of members of the public speaking with local officers.

“The theft of dogs will not be tolerated and is investigated as rigorously as we would deal with any other crime.

“The safety and welfare of the animals involved is always paramount and it was great to see the two pups unharmed and back where they belong.

“I’d like to thank too, who have been great in assisting us in getting messages out about the missing pups. I know they have said they are also pleased with the outcome.”