A stolen dog has been returned to her owners after more than four years apart.
Despite her owners reporting the theft to the police, the culprits were not traced and Nala was instead sold on to another family who did not know she had been stolen.
Her new owners then moved hundreds of miles south and resettled in Kent, a seven-and-a-half-hour journey away.
Years passed before Nala’s true origins came out by accident, after a routine check-up at the vet.
Nurses discovered she had been microchipped and when they read the information from the device realised she must have been stolen from her original home in Blackpool.
PC Martyn Tulk from Kent Police was then put on the case and contacted his colleagues in Lancashire to ensure the terrier was returned to her rightful owners.
“It was a pleasure to be able to reunite the dog with its rightful owner,” the officer said.
“After being away for so long it was great to see the recognition Nala had for her family.
“The person who had innocently bought Nala was extremely supportive and although they were also a victim in this they helped us to ensure she was returned.
“It shows the importance of micro-chipping your pets, which is a legal requirement, in returning lost and stolen pets with their rightful owners.”
The law changed in 2016 to force all dog-owners to microchip their dogs and ensure the details on the chip are kept up to date.
The government said at the time it was needed to reunite the 102,000 canines which were picked up on the streets as strays or stolen animals each year.
In 2016, before the law changed, some 86 per cent of owners had already voluntarily microchipped their pets.
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