A COUNTY Durham has been arrested on suspicion of stealing puppies in Gloucestershire.

Police were called to Beeches Road in Charlton Kings, near Cheltenham, on Saturday afternoon following reports that a man was seen to have been loading a number of puppies into a van.

Officers from Gloucestershire Constabulary conducted enquiries into the vehicle before liaising with colleagues at West Mercia Police who located and stopped the van on the M6 before detaining the man.

A 24-year-old man from Durham was arrested on suspicion of the theft of puppies.

He was transported to custody in Gloucestershire where he remained yesterday.

A police spokesperson said that between 30 and 40 puppies were recovered from the van and taken to an RSPCA vet surgery for assessment.

It is not yet known if the arrest was linked to a spate of dog thefts across the county of Gloucestershire last week, which included a collie and her six puppies from a property in Brockworth.

Officers in Gloucester are asking anyone with information to call 101 quoting incident 237 of 22 August.