Dog thief is Punished for hurt to OAP

Ron Gabbott has been reunited with his dog Megs after she was snatched by thieves in Wakefield
Ron Gabbott has been reunited with his dog Megs after she was snatched by thieves in Wakefield

Neil Ellwood, 40, stole Megs, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Owner Ron Gabbott, 74, had left her tied up while he popped into a bank on Kirkgate on October 13.

Prosecutor Diane Gomersall said Mr Gabbott returned a short time later but discovered his dog missing. The next morning he rang the police saying Megs had been stolen.

But the pair were reunited weeks later after a heartfelt crime appeal in the Wakefield Express resulted in a “lead” for police.

Officers went to Ellwood’s home and found Megs there.

Megs was taken back to the police station and Mr Gabbott came down and identified her.

Mrs Gomersall showed the bench cuttings from the Express, which showed “how upset the complainant was at the loss of his dog”.

Ellwood told police the dog looked “miserable” and he said he intended to keep Megs and to look after her.

Ellwood, of Birch Court, Morley, admitted theft at an earlier hearing.

Sukhbeer Shergill, mitigating, said: “It appears companionship was the reason the dog was taken in the first place.”

She said: “He thought the dog had been abandoned and he observed the dog for over an hour.”

But Ellwood accepted he should have gone to the police or RSPCA. He had no idea Megs belonged to an elderly man until the police told him. The dog was in good health when it was retrieved by police.

Wakefield magistrate Lynda Hammond, passing sentence, said: “This was an extremely unpleasant offence, which caused great distress and suffering to the owner of the dog. You made absolutely no attempt over identifying the owner of the dog.”

Ellwood was given a community order with a 12-month supervision requirement and an eight-week daily curfew requirement from 7pm to 7am. He must also pay £85 in costs.