June 5, 2018 1.05 pm This story is over 65 months old

Lincolnshire spaniel thieves plead guilty

They have been told they won’t be jailed

A man and woman have been told they will not be jailed after they admitted handling stolen pedigree King Charles Spaniel dogs.

Barry Darling, 51, and Bridget Darling, 40, pleaded guilty to a single charge of handling stolen goods between 21 and 24 September, 2015, when they appeared at Lincoln Crown Court.

The pair, from Batley, West Yorkshire, will be sentenced alongside a man and woman from the Basingstoke area who previously admitted their involvement in connection with a commercial burglary at the home of a Lincolnshire dog breeder.

At an earlier hearing the court was told 15 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels were stolen from dog breeding pens in a garden at Willow Cottage on Gainsborough Road, Middle Rasen, between 21 and 24 September, 2015.

Lisa Harding, prosecuting, told the court eleven dogs were recovered from the Darlings’ but they could not be postively identified by the owner as those missing from Middle Rasen.

Miss Harding said following the burglary the complainant had needed to start her business from scratch.

After the theft, Lincolnshire Police released photographs of the dogs and asked anyone who was offered them for sale to contact them.

The owner of the dogs also offered a £5,000 reward for any information leading to their safe return.

Judge Andrew Easteal agreed to adjourn sentence for the preparation of probation reports but said none of the defendants would lose their liberty.

All four defendants were granted bail and will be sentenced on a date to be fixed.