BELOVED dogs stolen by callous criminals in the middle of the night will be reunited with their owners after being found in Darlington.

In November, brazen dog-nappers were captured on CCTV stealing six cocker spaniels from a kennel belonging to West Yorkshire breeder Julie Whiteley.

Shortly after midnight, the three thieves took six of seven dogs in the kennel, leaving Ms Whiteley and Fran Glendenning – who owns one of spaniels – devastated.

The pair have made a number of public appeals since the show dogs were taken, with the theft also sparking a nationwide hunt among dog lovers.

Two of the cocker spaniels - Bentley and Cilla - were reunited with their owner on Wednesday, when Darlington’s dog warden announced that they had been discovered in the town.

Cilla was discovered by a member of the public wandering around the Cobden Street area with no collar and was identified by her microchip, as was nine-month-old Bentley who was handed into a Darlington vet on Tuesday.

The spaniels were returned to their owner on Wednesday but the hunt for the missing four dogs is still ongoing.

Ms Glendenning is now urging the public to keep an eye out for the much-loved animals.

She said: “The impact of this has been horrendous and Julie is beside herself, the dogs are members of her family.

"They could be anywhere in the country if they’ve been sold on and we’d like everyone to be aware and report any possible sightings.

“I don’t have the words to say how I feel about those who stole the dogs.”

The theft, which happened at kennels on Snowgate Head, New Mill is being investigated by Kirklees Police. Anyone with information should call 101, with crime reference 13170510097.