A family has been reunited with their chihuahua after she was stolen more than 18 months ago.
Lisa Lockley was devastated when thieves broke into her home and stole her dog, Paris, along with some of her belongings in October 2019.
The company informed Ms Lockley that a person in Buckinghamshire was trying to change ownership of Paris.
Officers reopened the case and discovered Paris’ new owners had purchased her from a pet shop in London in December 2019, not knowing that she had been stolen.
Wiltshire Police said negotiations between the legal owner and the new owner had taken place to determine who the now pregnant Paris should live with.
“Following enquiries with a local Buckingham vet it was deemed safe for the pregnant dog to be transported back to Swindon to be reunited with its legal owner,” they said.
Inspector Gill Hughes said: "This was a case where a person bought a dog from a pet shop believing it to be legal only to find out later that the animal was indeed stolen property.
"I would urge anyone buying a dog or puppy to do their research beforehand and to go through the check list of do’s and don’ts in buying one. Even if you are purchasing from a shop.”
Ministers currently working on tackling the “vile crime” of pet theft after cases exploded in lockdown.
Home Secretary Priti Patel has held talks with Cabinet colleagues to discuss how to address the issue, with officials acknowledging the “great distress” caused by the loss of a family pet.
Ms Patel has discussed the issue with Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland and Environment Secretary George Eustice
Officials and junior ministers have also carried out work on the issue, with next steps due to be announced “in due course”.
Stealing a pet is already an offence under the Theft Act, with a maximum jail term of seven years, and Sentencing Council guidelines mean that emotional distress is taken into consideration when punishments are decided.
But ministers have been under pressure to introduce a new specific offence of stealing much-loved pet dogs.
A Government spokesman said: “Last month, the Home Secretary, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs met to discuss a cross-government approach to combating this issue and we will announce next steps in due course.
“This builds upon the huge amounts of work already undertaken by junior ministers and officials.
“Losing a much-loved family pet can cause great distress and it’s a sad fact that criminals will seek to profit by this vile crime.”