Nottinghamshire Police join search for Bella the lamb

Bella at home in Perlethorpe Image copyright Natalie Haywood
Image caption The lamb was adopted by a family in Perlethorpe and bottle fed before it was stolen

Police have joined the search for a "stolen" lamb that went missing with its "inseparable" dog companion three weeks ago.

Nine-week-old lamb Bella, which had been adopted by a Nottinghamshire family, is now believed to have been taken along with year-old border collie Blake.

Blake was found a week ago by a farmer not far from his home.

Police said the lamb was only recently reported stolen.

'Open gate'

PC Jeanette Straw of Nottinghamshire Police said they were following up a number of leads, but asked anyone with information to contact police.

She said the pets had escaped when a gate at the property was "presumably left open" but were later seen by a witness being put into a car.

Image copyright FindUKDogs
Image caption The #FindUKDogs group is leading an online campaign

Paula Strudley of FindUKDogs, which searches for lost pets, is coordinating a Facebook page set up to find Bella and is convinced is still alive.

"A farmer from Lincolnshire was out with her children to get an ice cream when she saw the dog," she said.

"She found Blake, who was running around loose, and returned him to the family, but there is still no sign of Bella," she said.

"#FindUKdogs have some leads and have shared them with the police - but we are not able to reveal names or addresses as don't want them to hide the lamb."

Image copyright Natalie Haywood
Image caption Bella and border collie Blake were "best friends"

Bella's owner Natalie Haywood said that the two pets were "the best of friends, she follows him around everywhere".

Farmers in the area are being urged to look for any lambs that do not belong to them and the general public is asked to take a photograph of any lamb they think might be Bella.

The dog and lamb went missing from a back garden in Perlthorpe near Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire on 8 May.

Image copyright Natalie Haywood
Image caption One-year-old Blake was returned home and is now "behaving like nothing has happened"

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