Suffolk

Suffolk stolen dogs returned in covert car park exchange

Spaniels Skye and Ruby Image copyright Nicola Moore
Image caption Spaniels Skye (left) and Ruby were returned six days after being stolen

A family paid a hooded stranger for the return of their two stolen spaniels in a covert exchange that was like "something out of a crime movie".

Ruby and Skye were taken from their Holton St Mary home on Easter Sunday.

Their owners, the Pearce family, gave the man "several hundred pounds" for their "traumatised" dogs in a car park on Saturday after offering a "substantial" reward.

Suffolk Police confirmed an investigation was under way.

Officers have also made an arrest after the family was earlier duped by a blackmailer who claimed to have their dogs.

Gun dogs cocker spaniel Ruby and springer spaniel Skye were stolen from a locked yard late at night by "someone who knew what they were doing", said Sarah Pearce, whose father owns the dogs.

Image copyright Nicola Moore
Image caption The family issued posters offering a "substantial" reward for Ruby and Skye

The family started a Facebook page, hoping the exposure would make the dogs "too hot to handle", and publicised the reward.

The man who returned the dogs contacted them on Friday evening.

Miss Pearce said: "He said he could get our dogs if we made it worth his while."

Blackmail scam

After several exchanges he told them to drive to a lay-by and wait for further instructions.

Miss Pearce and her father were directed to a car park "in the middle of nowhere".

"We didn't look at him and were made to turn away," she said.

It is not known if the man was involved in the theft.

Image copyright Nicola Moore
Image caption Ruby and Skye seemed healthy when they were returned, Sarah Pearce said

Ruby and Skye were "a little traumatised" but otherwise seemed healthy, she said.

Before the return the family had transferred money to a man who claimed to have their dogs.

They realised "he didn't have the dogs" when he demanded more money.

Suffolk Police said a man had been arrested "outside of the county in connection with an alleged blackmail offence and the investigation is ongoing".

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