Stolen canine reunited with homeowners eight months after housebreaking following search warrant at Surrey website

Police have reunited one of several suspected stolen dogs with their owners following a search warrant in a Surrey location.

Willow was one of ten Lurcher and Spaniel-type dogs seized by Sussex police on March 16. The two-year-old Cocker Spaniel was stolen during a break-in in Suffolk in July 2020, officials said.

The address of the Surrey site was not disclosed for operational reasons.

Her owners, who do not wish to be identified, traveled to Sussex on Wednesday (March 23) to reunite with their beloved pet.

One owner said: “We are delighted to have Willow back home and we can’t thank the Sussex Police enough for finding her.

“After eight months we thought we would never see them again and we hope this gives other dog owners the confidence that they can be found and this is taken seriously.”

An investigation is currently ongoing after the Surrey search warrant was cited by Crawley CID, with the assistance of the Sussex Rural Crime Team and Surrey Police. The officers continue to work to identify the remaining dogs and their rightful owners.

A 30-year-old woman arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods was released pending further investigation.

“This is a complex and likely lengthy investigation.”

John Wallace, Detective Chief Inspector, said, “We are delighted that Willow has been reunited with her owners and is now safely home where she belongs.

“After Willow has recovered, Suffolk Police are trying to investigate developments in the burglary investigation and are working closely with Sussex Police to assist us with our ongoing investigation.

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“This is a complex and likely lengthy investigation. Our priority has been to ensure the health and welfare of the dogs – some were in poor condition when we found them and are receiving ongoing medical attention, which is also part of our investigation.

“We work meticulously through all of the information and pursue other lines of investigation to help identify these dogs. We will publish more information in the coming days to aid this process

“We understand this can be frustrating and we appreciate the patience of people who know that all dogs are well cared for.”

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The Sussex Police Department has received hundreds of contacts from members of the public desperate to find their missing pets. The remaining dogs will continue to be looked after in a safe place, according to the police.

Anyone who has lost a Spaniel or Lurcher dog and can contact the troop by email: dogtheft@sussex.pnn.police.uk.