Owner of stolen cocker spaniels hires pet detective and hot air balloon, vowing never to give up the search

  • Report by Yasmin Bodalbhai

A woman from Staffordshire says she's scared to use her garden and won't leave the house alone after thieves stole her two dogs.

Rachel Lilley has launched a huge campaign to try to get cocker spaniels Missy and Biscuit back. This includes putting banners on a hot air balloon and sending thousands of flyers out to vets and volunteers throughout Britain and Ireland.

A Facebook group dedicated to finding the dogs has 3,000 likes, and the community are helping Rachel and her family to get to the bottom of what's happened.

Missy and Biscuit were stolen from a home in Brewood in Staffordshire in March. Six weeks later they've still not been found and the owners are doing all they can to find them. Credit: Lisa Dean

The 29-year-old said the two thieves clambered over barbed wire and unlocked five livestock gates during the raid at around 7pm on Friday 5 March. Staffordshire Police said there were two or three attempted thefts in the area around the same time.

CCTV from the property shows a car driving past the house, then turning round and driving back. The dogs are heard barking and howling, before the car disappears.

Six weeks after the initial break in and with no luck so far, the family have hired a pet detective as well as a hot air balloon to help continue the search for the dogs.

We have had banners, flyers, a pet detective and even a hot air balloon. It was my cousin's birthday so we asked if we could put the banner for Missy and Biscuit on the side and they said yes. It really took off - loads of people saw it and it crazy on social media. We are hoping that that one person, who may know something, would see it and will tell us where our dogs are.

Rachel Lilley
The family hired a hot air balloon to help raise the profile of the stolen dogs. Credit: Lisa Dean

Rachel says her mum is now scared to leave the house and carries a personal alarm when she does so. She added, "the heartache we are suffering is horrible and I wouldn't wish this on anybody. Our girls aren't belongings. They are our family."

You can pinch my phone, my laptop or even my car. They can be replaced, but Missy and Biscuit can't.

Rachel Lilley

Staffordshire Police are still investigating and asking anyone with information to come forward.

Lisa Dean, the pet detective helping in the case, said, "We have made huge progress and witness statements are now rolling in.

"We know the black Audi was the vehicle involved in the theft. It was captured several times leading up to the theft on different cameras and then seen by a witness, at the point of the boundary of the garden where the thieves exited."

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