Stolen Norfolk dog reunited with owner after police raid in Essex

Essex Police officers with Matthew Cullum (centre) and his beloved dog Bonnie.

Essex Police officers with Matthew Cullum (centre) and his beloved dog Bonnie. - Credit: Essex Police

A Norfolk animal lover left "absolutely broken” after his two Springer Spaniels were stolen has been reunited with one of them after a police raid in Essex.

Matthew Cullum, a farmer from Forncett, south of Norwich, was torn apart by the theft of his dogs, Bonnie and Tilly, from outside his home on January 27.

Springer Spaniels Bonnie and Tilly were stolen from outside of their home in Forncett.

Springer Spaniels Bonnie and Tilly were stolen from outside of their home in Forncett. - Credit: Matthew Cullum


The 31-year-old said he "lived in hope" the animals would be found.

On Friday (June 25), almost six months later, Mr Cullum was reunited with one of the dogs, Bonnie.

It came after police in Essex executed a search warrant at a property in Wickford, more than 80 miles away from Norfolk.

Officers from the force's operational support group conducted checks to see if she had been reported missing before then reuniting the pet with her delighted owner.

Springer Spaniels Bonnie and Tilly were stolen from outside of their home in Forncett.

Springer Spaniels Bonnie and Tilly were stolen from outside of their home in Forncett. - Credit: Matthew Cullum

Mr Cullum said he "couldn't thank officers enough" for finding Bonnie and said Essex Police had done a "brilliant job" in finding her.

Although Bonnie's sister Tilly has not yet been found, Mr Cullum is hopeful someone might yet be able to help trace her too.

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Sgt Paul Downes said: “We were absolutely delighted to be able to make sure Bonnie made it home safely.

“Here at Essex Police we love dogs, not just our hard-working courageous police dogs, but many of us have our own four-legged best friends at home, so we don’t underestimate the devastating impact upon owners when they are stolen.

“We hope this shows our dogged determination to act on all crimes reported to us, including thefts of dogs, and we will act on all information received and do our best to keep on arresting those responsible and reuniting dogs with their owners.”

As previously reported, Mr Cullum said he thought the disappearance of his dogs was linked with the rise in dog thefts, as the demand for pets has rocketed during lockdown.

Springer Spaniels Bonnie and Tilly were stolen from outside of their home in Forncett.

Springer Spaniels Bonnie and Tilly were stolen from outside of their home in Forncett. - Credit: Matthew Cullum

No arrests have been made in relation to Bonnie’s disappearance, but four men – aged between 18 and 25 – remain in custody after being arrested on suspicion of burglary.

It follows the theft of tack from a farm in the area on May 2 this year.

Information to police on 101, quoting 42/81691/21.

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