Leeds dognapper in court

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A thief stole a pensioner's beloved pet dog because he thought the Staffordshire bull terrier looked "miserable."

Neil Ellwood, of Morley, spotted Megs the dog tied up outside a bank in Wakefield city centre and snatched her, magistrates at Wakefield heard.

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Owner Ron Gabbott, 74, had tied Megs's lead to a post while he popped into the Alliance and Leicester on Kirkgate for a few minutes and was distraught to discover she was gone.

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As police tried to track her down, Ellwood kept Megs at his home in Birch Court at Morley for a more than month – because he wanted companionship.

Police launched an appeal using CCTV footage of the theft.

Officers knocked on Ellwood's door last November 22, found Megs at his house and she was re-united with a delighted Mr Gabbott.

Prosecutor, Diane Gomersall, said: "He (Ellwood] said he saw the dog tied up and thought it might be abandoned and that it looked miserable.

He decided to keep the dog and look after it." She said he had

apologised to the owner.

Sukhbeer Shergill, for Ellwood, said: "He didn't know the owner was an elderly gentleman to whom the dog was a dear companion. It would appear companionship was the reason the dog was taken in the first place."

Ellwood, who has previous convictions and has spent time in prison, had admitted theft at an earlier hearing.

Sentencing him to a 12-month community order with supervision, presiding magistrate Lynda Hammond said: "This was an extremely unpleasant offence which caused great distress and suffering to the owner."

Ellwood was ordered to pay 85 court costs.

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