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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 October, 2003, 14:33 GMT 15:33 UK
Heartless thieves snatch girl's dog
Lottie the Springer Spaniel
Lottie the Springer Spaniel at home
A schoolgirl has been left distraught by thieves who snatched her pet Springer Spaniel in the street and dumped it miles away.

Police in Edinburgh have appealed for help in tracing the two men and a boy who coaxed Lottie away from 10-year-old Ruth Luqmani and sped off in a car.

The dog was found abandoned a few miles away from the Newington area of the city, in Straiton, on Wednesday morning.

The girl's mother Caroline said the ordeal had left her daughter shocked and upset.

Ruth, a P6 pupil in Edinburgh, was approached by the thieves in a silver car at about 1715 on Tuesday.

It all happened so quickly and Ruth came home and she was beside herself over what happened
Caroline Luqmani
Ruth's mother
She had been walking Lottie with a friend when a schoolboy, aged about nine or 10, got out of the car and tried to entice the four-year-old Spaniel away from the girls.

He was being egged on by two men in the vehicle and when Lottie did not respond the boy shouted obscenities at the girls before picking up the dog and jumping into the car.

The girls were on the corner of Mentone Terrace and Moston Terrace when Lottie was stolen.

Mrs Luqmani, 44, said she could not believe that anybody could do something so cruel.

"It is shocking and unbelievable that someone would do this," she said.

Ruth and Lottie were reunited the following day
""It all happened so quickly and Ruth came home and she was beside herself over what happened.

She was in shock and was really upset, in fact the whole family are upset by what has happened because Lottie is a family pet."

A Lothian and Borders Police spokesman said: "This was an extremely distressing incident for a 10-year-old girl.

"It is a very unusual crime to have a dog stolen and the family are understandably upset."

Officers believe that the group may have entered a newsagents and a chip shop nearby around the time of the theft.

The boy who got out of the car is described as white, small and slim, with blond hair that was long on top but short at the back and sides.

Boy aged nine or 10; small and slim, blond hair, obvious scar on cheek, English or Irish accent
Man in early 20s, 5ft 9in, brown hair, black trousers, Irish accent
Man in late 20s, 5ft 8in, short dark hair and goatee beard, checked shirt
He had an obvious scar on his right cheek and possibly wore blue denim dungarees. His accent was either English or Irish.

One of the men was 23 to 24 years, 5ft 9in tall, with brown hair, black trousers and had an Irish accent.

The second man was about 27, slim build, 5ft 8in tall, with short dark hair and a goatee beard. He was wearing a blue and white checked shirt and blue jeans.

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