Saffron Walden sporting couple get reunited with stolen dog Rufus

Rufus the dog, who has been reunited with his owners

Rufus the dog, who has been reunited with his owners - Credit: Archant

A Saffron Walden sporting couple are “over the moon” after being reunited with their dog that was stolen from a petrol station in Steeple Bumpstead on Wednesday (January 6).

The Saffron Walden Town left-back Daniel Grindrod, who has been reunited with his dog

The Saffron Walden Town left-back Daniel Grindrod, who has been reunited with his dog - Credit: Archant

Daniel Grindrod, 26, who stars as a left-back for Saffron Walden Town Football Club and fiancee Grace Mitchell, also 26, who plays for Saffron Walden Hockey Club, received the telephone call they had been hoping for at around 6pm last night (January 7) to say their dog, named Rufus, had been found safely.

The couple, who got engaged last week, were contacted by Village Vets in Longstanton, Cambridgeshire, who informed them that a 50-year-old lady had found Rufus in the nearby car park of Tesco’s at Bar Hill.

Daniel and Grace, who both work as PE teachers, had travelled to Willingham earlier yesterday afternoon to put up posters and hand out leaflets after learning that the Mercedes vehicle used in the theft had been abandoned in the Cambridgeshire village.

Grace said: “We received a mysterious call from a withheld number to begin with, asking for money for the safe return of Rufus. We asked the person to call us back in an hour and we were going to arrange a meet, but in-between we got the call from the vets to say he was safe and sound. “They got Dan’s number through Rufus’ microchip, and we’re both so happy to have him back.”

Dan witnessed the dog-nap on Wednesday afternoon after tieing the nine-month old Cocker Spaniel up outside the Jet petrol garage in North Street, Steeple Bumpstead at 1.20pm as he went inside to buy some soup.

Just as he was paying, the Bloods player saw two men bundling the pet into a white Mercedes C Class vehicle, which then drove off.

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Dan said: “It’s fantastic, we’re over the moon. I’d like to thank all the people who shared the story on social media because if it wasn’t for them, we probably wouldn’t have got Rufus back. It was unreal the amount of support we received from people.

“The best thing is that he’s perfectly ok. He’s got to have a few more check-ups at the vets, but he looks well. It’s really great that we’re all now back as one happy family.”

Grace said, as yet, the pair have not spoken to the lady who found Rufus, but were expecting to do so over the next couple of days.

The couple plan to get married in summer 2018.

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