Crufts champion puppy among five chihuahuas stolen in burglary

Thieves smashed into breeders' Yorkshire home with iron bar

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

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence