SIR Ian Botham’s family has increased a reward for information about a dog stolen from outside his home.

They have now raised the reward to £5,000 for information leading to the return of Woody, a 15-month-old spaniel that went missing from a secure courtyard at Sir Ian’s farmhouse in Ravensworth, North Yorkshire, at 11.30am on Sunday, November 20.

Owner Emma Sayle, the fiancee of Sir Ian’s son, Liam, said concern was mounting for Woody’s welfare and that the family had been devastated by his disappearance.

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She said: “I am now at the end of my tether. It seems like he has been lost for an eternity; he is like my baby. I am a positive person and it would take a certain type of human being to do harm to such a docile dog.”

Miss Sayle and Liam, a former Newcastle Falcons rugby player, have spoken to scores of people over the past week in an attempt to trace Woody, and have searched an area stretching from Bishop Auckland to Catterick, North Yorkshire.

Miss Sayle said: “I am a Southerner, but I know the back alleys around here now.

We have spoken to beaters, kennels, vets, shelters, Gypsy wardens, but here has not been one sighting, which I find worrying.

“If he had been released onto the moors he would have naturally found a human as he is very friendly.”

She thanked residents for their support and said the backing of her celebrity friends, including Atomic Kitten singer Liz McClarnon, England rugby player James Haskell and Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton, had helped raise the profile of the appeal.

She said anyone with information about Woody’s whereabouts could email her at emmasayle@ Police are investigating.

􀁧 Sarah-Jayne Botham, the estranged wife of Liam, was arrested and questioned over the disappearance of Woody last week, before being released on bail.