THIEVES have stolen a miniature pet pony from a Hampshire field.

Sooty, a tiny Falabella horse, was taken from land at Colts Road in Rownhams.

Now police have issued an appeal for witnesses to the “highly unusual” theft believing it may have been stolen to order - or simply for breeding.

Reports have already surfaced that a number of men were seen to be acting suspiciously in the area at the time when the six-month-old family pet went missing.

Police say the animal was so small it could easily have been lifted up and taken away without much commotion.

Hampshire Constabulary's Equine Liason Officer, David Collings, said: “Last year we only had one reported stolen horse and this is out of the ordinary.

“The reason he's been targeted is because he's small and a miniature and easy to steal. Those who have stolen him either already have a buyer or recognise him as a colt and capable of being used for breeding purposes.”

Anybody who witnessed anything suspicious in the Colts Road area on January 18 between 2pm and 5pm should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.