The ashes of 16 much-loved pets have been returned to a pet cremation company a week after they were stolen by thieves.
The ashes were in a van belonging to Pet Cremation Services (PCS) that was stolen from the driveway of an address in Rugby.
After the van and the ashes were reported as stolen, the 16 pet owners were notified by their respective vets and by PCS.
Not to be deterred, however, many of the pet owners refused to give up hope of having the ashes safely returned and a Facebook group was set up appealing to the thieves to have a heart and to return the stolen remains of the pets.
John Gould and his wife Wendy, who live in Naseby, were one of those who fell victim to the theft.
Mr Gould said: “Ben our 10-year-old golden retriever was put to sleep at Town & Country Vets in Market Harborough on February 28, where it was arranged with vet Tim Murphy that Ben would have individual cremation and be returned to us on Monday, March 10.
“On Tuesday, March 11, we received a phone call from Tim, who offered his sincere apologies that Ben’s ashes could not be returned to us due to the theft of the vehicle belonging to PCS which also contained the ashes of 16 other pets.”
Mr Gould said that they were very upset, but were given a sympathetic response by PCS, who Mr Gould said did everything in their power to trace the van.
A Facebook group was set up which became a hive of activity with people sharing posts and offering their support to the pet owners who in turn contacted various media outlets to help widen the appeal for information.
Mr Gould added: “Due to all the participation and local councils we were astonished to receive phone calls from both PCS and Town & Country Vets this Monday informing us Ben’s ashes, together with all the other pets, had been left sometime during the night at the end of the drive leading to PCS at Guilsborough.
“We are eternally grateful to all who strived so hard to find all the pets.
“Our minds are now at rest after a very traumatic week.”
The ashes were left in the van on the driveway of PCS’s head office in Guilsburough on Sunday night.
PCS were not available to comment.