All five dogs stolen from a Harborough village have now been rescued by police

We reported yesterday (Wednesday) that four had been recovered - and now the fifth dog has been found 135 miles away

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 12:49 pm
Updated Thursday, 8th April 2021, 12:50 pm

The fifth working basset hound stolen from kennels in a Harborough village has been recovered by police.

Bashful, a female, was found by officers last night (Wednesday) in the Chorley area of Lancashire – 135 miles away.

Her safe recovery means that all five dogs – the others being Drama, Lattice, Landlord and Banish – are now all set to be reunited together with their thrilled owners in South Kilworth, near Lutterworth.

All five working basset hounds stolen from kennels in a Harborough village have been recovered by police.

The massive breakthrough comes after the highly-trained dogs, owned by the historic Westerby Basset Hounds, were stolen from their kennels on Walcote Road on Wednesday February 17 or Thursday February 18.

Ecstatic owner Sophie Cripps today said they were “absolutely elated and delighted” to be getting their beloved hounds back.

She also thanked everyone who helped to search all over the country for the stolen dogs as she saluted animal welfare group Beauty’s Legacy for their time, support and expertise.

Lisa Dean, of Beauty’s Legacy, told the Harborough Mail this afternoon how the drama to recover Bashful unfolded yesterday.

“We received a message from a member of the public claiming to have found a dog matching Bashful’s description yesterday afternoon at a location in Lancashire.

“Following an exchange of photographs and phone calls we arranged for the dog to be taken to a local police station.

“The owners drove to Lancashire late last night to be reunited with Bashful,” said Lisa.

“We are all so elated and wish to thank members of the public who have come forward with vital information.

“We also want to thank police forces who have come on board and assisted us, local authorities and welfare agencies – as well as the owners themselves.

“They have worked tirelessly from the minute these poor dogs were so cruelly stolen from them and have never given up hope of finding them.

“The amazing team from Beauty’s Legacy have also worked non-stop to help track these dogs down and bring them home safely.

“Although all the dogs are now safe, they have required veterinary care and one of the dogs is still not home yet.

“We cannot wait to get them all home now and to a very emotional reunion that none of us will ever forget,” added Lisa.

Bashful has been found after two women and a man were arrested following the recovery of the other four hounds in Manchester over Easter weekend.

The trio were detained on “suspicion of handling stolen goods” by Greater Manchester Police.

The three suspects have all been released under investigation while enquiries continue, said Leicestershire Police.

The dogs, who are all microchipped, have all lost quite a bit of weight.

Two of the pack also suffered injuries and have been treated by vets following their traumatic kidnap.

The dramatic four-day rescue of all five dogs was ignited when Beauty’s Legacy were tipped off last Saturday (April 3) that one of the animals was at a house in Manchester.

“Representatives from Beauty's Legacy liaised with this person and the two police forces.

“And on Saturday evening the first of our bassets was safely recovered,” said Lisa, who battles to reunites stolen and missing dogs with their owners.

“Shortly afterwards, following further investigations, a second dog was recovered from the same address.”

She said police then seized two more of the hounds from a second property in the Manchester area on Easter Monday.

“Arrests have been made and enquiries are ongoing,” said the Beauty’s Legacy spokeswoman.

“The hounds have lost drastic amounts of weight and sustained injuries - welfare agencies are aware and are working with the team.”

Today Sgt Paul Archer, of Harborough police, said: “I am very pleased that the dogs have been found.

“I would like to thank both the public for their assistance in locating the dogs and colleagues from Greater Manchester Police for recovering them.”

If you have any information about how the dogs were stolen you can contact Leicestershire Police by visiting https://www.leics.police.uk/ro/report/ocr/af/how-to-report-a-crime/ and quoting reference 21*97226.

You can also call police on 101.

The criminals who took the five hounds broke in to the kennels in South Kilworth through a hedgerow.

They were snatched after a string of dog thefts across Harborough and throughout Leicestershire earlier this year.