TWO English Springer Spaniel dogs have been stolen from the back garden of a house in Hampshire.

The 63-year-old owner heard his four dogs barking from the dog run in his back garden and thought it was a family member visiting his Holbury home.

When no one came to the door, he went out to investigate and found the gates to the garden and to the dog run open while two bitches were missing.

The owner is said to be distraught at the loss.

“This has knocked the stuffing out of me,” he said. “I spend every day of the week training the four spaniels. They're like kids to me.”

The missing spaniels are five-year-old Fenn and 15-month-old Ria. Fenn is mostly black with some white. Ria has a main black spot just off the spine and a smaller black mark at the base of her tail. Ria also has an undershot jaw.

Officers want to hear from anyone who saw suspicious people or an unfamiliar vehicle in an alleyway behind houses in Whitefield Road at about 8pm Monday December 10.

It comes after a husky was stolen from a home in Thornhill, Southampton. In that instance, the family were reunited with their pet after it was found wandering the streets in Millbrook.

This was after the had been contacted by someone who offered to sell the dog back to them, but refused to leave any contact details.

Anyone with information about the theft or anyone who knows someone who has acquired or been offered one or two Springer Spaniel bitches is asked to contact PC Alison Tilbury at the Hythe Safer Neighbourhoods Team on 101.