TWO people have been arrested after a pet dog was snatched outside its home and held for a £500 ransom.
Detectives have confirmed that a 50-year-old man and an 18- year-old woman have been quizzed following the incident last year.
Cocker spaniel Buttons was found tied up and for sale 50 miles away in Berkshire after going missing from an address in Mottisfont, near Romsey, in September.
The dog’s owners, the Jenkins family, pinned up missing posters across the county to get their beloved pet back.
Within hours Catherine Jenkins was contacted by a mystery caller, who demanded £500 for two-year-old Buttons’ safe return.
Her husband decided to turn detective and arranged a meeting with the caller to see who turned up.
He saw Buttons with two women, but instead of challenging them he passed their registration plate on to Hampshire Police. Officers tracked the vehicle to an address in Aldermaston, Berkshire, which they raided but found no sign of the dog.
Buttons was eventually recovered when a member of the public called a dog warden after challenging a man who was selling the dog near Aldermaston.
Police have carried out a warrant on another address in the area, Paices Hill Caravan Park, where the two suspects were detained.
The man and woman, who are both from Aldermaston, were arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods. They have been released on bail until Tuesday, March 19.
Police believe an organised gang has been targeting villages across Hampshire stealing dogs and holding them to ransom.
Earlier this year a number of dogs were stolen in the Winchester area with one family putting up a £2,500 reward for the return of the animals.
Three men were later arrested but the dogs have not been found.