A family were left in complete shock after their beloved dog was stolen and listed on Gumtree – being sold on to three different owners in just 24 HOURS.
Three-year-old Bull Mastiff Prince had been put up for sale twice and was finally tracked down 70 miles away from home.
His devastated owner Charlotte Padgett had to then cough up over £200 to get her family’s beloved pooch back in their arms.
She had briefly left the family pet in the care of her mum before Prince was swiped from their back garden.
Charlotte, 23, who bought the pooch for her five-year-old daughter Maddison, spent hours trying to track down Prince after he was spotted up for sale online.
A woman, 36, was arrested and later released on bail following the incident.
Charlotte, of Bridlington, East Yorks., said: “We were lucky to get in touch with the guy – and we are so happy that he’s now back with us.
“He ran straight up to Maddison – who had been crying all night because she was so heartbroken.”
Charlotte had left the pup in the care of her mum Kristy Cropper, 45, to visit family in Bradford, West Yorks., when the devilish act happened.
Kristy, who also lives in Bridlington, said: “We were absolutely devastated – it has been an utter nightmare.
“I then quickly looked online to see if Prince had been listed on a selling site and after looking for two hours – I found him.
“I then called Charlotte straight away and then phoned the police.”
Poor Prince was passed around three times before police and the family could get any information which would lead them back to their stolen pet.
Luckily he was found 70 miles away in Middlesbrough, Tees., and was collected by the family on Tuesday (August 23) following the frantic search.
Speaking about the ordeal, Kirsty said: “I just couldn’t believe it – it was as if the thief had been planning to take the dog for a while – because it had already been listed on the morning before he was taken.
“We then contacted the first buyer who had met the thief in Bridlington – but we found out he had already sold on the dog.
“But the guy kept ducking our calls and he eventually blocked all of our numbers.
“We got the police involved and Charlotte had to spend hours at the police station to try and search for dogs at homing centres in the country.
“She also had to give a statement because they had arrested the suspect.
“We knew the thief hadn’t sold the dog in the area though – so we were so lucky to eventually find the buyer.”
Charlotte was so desperate to get their family pooch back that they even paid the amount the third owner had paid for Prince.
Kirsty added: “It wasn’t about the money at this stage – we just wanted the dog back so we paid what the new owner wanted.”
Kirsty admitted that Prince always stays in his own designated house which was built especially for him in her daughter’s back garden – so he can roam around the garden in nice weather.
A spokesperson for Humberside Police said: “A Bridlington woman has been arrested on suspicion of theft following an incident in Little Beck Road.
“Officers were called to an address at around 8.30pm following reports of an ongoing dispute between two parties in relation to a dog.
“The incident was brought to a conclusion, but officers were called back to the address at around 11.35pm following a further altercation.
“A 36-year-old woman was arrested and has since been released on police bail pending further enquiries.”