Stoke dognapper jailed for stealing two Labradors

Dognapper who stole two black labradors after owner tied them up outside Marks and Spencer is jailed for 27 weeks

  • Malachy Doherty and a 14-year-old accomplice stole two Labradors in Nantwich
  • Owner Dale Robson had left Denzel and Welly outside a Marks & Spencer store
  • He and his partner Charlotte launched a social media appeal for information 
  • A neighbour spotted Doherty with the dogs and called police to investigate 

Malachy Doherty, pictured, was convicted of stealing the two Labradors called Denzel and Welly from outside a Marks & Spencer store in Nantwich on March 27

A thief who stole two dogs from outside a Marks & Spencer store has been jailed following his conviction in court. 

Malachy Doherty, 37, and his 14-year-old accomplice took the pair of Labradors called Denzel and Welly from outside the supermarket in Nantwich town centre on March 27. 

The dogs’ owners Charlotte and Dale Robson were left heartbroken after the dogs were stolen and launched a major social media campaign to track them down. 

South Cheshire Magistrates’ Court heard thousands of people shared details of the theft online and appealed for further information. 

After three days, police were able to track the dogs down to an address in Tunstall, Staffordshire, after a neighbour saw the dogs and became suspicious. 

The court heard Mr Robson left his dogs tied outside the store for a few minutes while he popped inside. When he returned he discovered his two dogs were missing. 

The two dogs were offered for sale by the 14-year-old, although they claimed  they were selling different pets. 

According to the Stoke Sentinel, a statement was read out in court on behalf of Mr Robson. He wrote: ‘I cannot believe that someone can be so heartless as to steal two dogs who are members of the family.’ 

He said his friends helped in a search of the area for the two Labradors. 

Doherty told the court he had no knowledge of his accomplice’s plan to sell the dogs and intended to keep them as pets. 

Police were able to track Doherty on CCTV after stealing the two dogs from outside the store

Charlotte and Dale Robson were reunited with their dogs Welly and Denzel after they were recovered by Cheshire Police three days after the theft

The couple were left heartbroken after their dogs were stolen. They launched a major social media campaign which assisted police in tracking down the dog thieves

He said he gave his wife, Mary Doherty the dogs to look after. She admitted handling stolen goods and will be sentenced at a later stage.  

Their solicitor Colin Drew said the couple have faced significant abuse on social media after being linked to the dog napping. 

Doherty said he had never intended to sell on the dogs and wanted to simply keep them as pets. He claimed he had no knowledge of his accomplice’s text.

He had asked his 28-year-old wife Mary Doherty to look after them at home. Today in court, she admitted handling stolen goods and her case was adjourned for a pre-sentence report.

Colin Drew, representing the couple, said they had experienced a torrent of social media abuse since they were linked with the theft of the dogs.

In addition to the jail term, Doherty has been ordered to pay £1,000 in compensation to Mr Robson along with a further £930 in costs and a £128 surcharge. 

Mr Doherty said both his dogs have been castrated so there was no point stealing them for a breeding farm

Sentencing Doherty, District Judge Nick Sanders said: ‘This is not theft of a push bike. It’s the theft of two family pets. I cannot begin to imagine the distress you caused that family.’

Commenting after his dogs were returned, Mr Robson said: ‘We are absolutely lost for words at the power of social media and the incredible work of Cheshire Police …. our boys are home!!!!

‘This feeling is like no other and we will be doing everything in our power to make sure dogs are safe going forward.

‘Thank you to each and every one of you who has shared, messaged, been out there, offered help and anything and everything in between!!!’ 

Mr and Ms Robson had launched a desperate appeal for the safe return of their ‘beloved family pets’ after they were snatched outside in March.

Mr Robson said: ‘They are both castrated and will not be able to be used as breeding dogs. They are family dogs and belong here with their family.’

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