Crufts champion puppy among five chihuahuas stolen in burglary

Thieves smashed into breeders' Yorkshire home with iron bar

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The Independent Online

A Crufts champion dog worth thousands of pounds has been stolen along with four other chihuahuas, sparking a nationwide search.

Xena, known by the stage name Valenchino Made of Candy, was taken in a burglary at a breeder in Yorkshire on Thursday.

She was named Best Puppy in Breed at Crufts 2014 and was in the running for next year’s competition.

Thieves broke into the house in the village of Lissett, near Driffield, by smashing a window with an iron bar and snatched the animals.

Their owners, Mal and Lucy Hilton, said they were devastated by the theft of 140-month-old Xena, her grandmother Angel and her mother Io, as well as two others called Pandora and Evie.

They fear the thieves will realise the dogs, worth tens of thousands of pounds, are impossible to sell and will harm them instead.

“I'm 65 years old and I haven't cried for years until now,” said Mr Hilton.

“They are just like our children. We are devastated by this and we just want them back.”

Humberside Police said the intruders broke in between 9.30am and 4.50pm and could have used a wicker basket to carry the dogs away.

A Nikon D3200 camera and lenses were also taken during the burglary at the couple's home, where they run Valenchino Chihuahuas.

Mr Hilton said: “I just want someone to hand them in - to the RSPCA, to a vet, to anywhere safe. It doesn't matter - just leave them somewhere so we can get them back.

"I'm just so worried they will come to harm."

A police spokesman urged witnesses to come forward.

He added: “These dogs need to be reunited with their owner and police are appealing for anyone who knows anything to contact them immediately so that we can have a happy ending to this story.”

Additional reporting by PA