The owner of a yarn and knitting shop in Benfleet was devastated to discover one of her prized knitted yarn dogs has been stolen.

Sandy Adams, 53 arrived at her shop, Bodkins, in Hart Road to find that a yarn beagle which has been displayed outside the store had been removed from its perch on a railing beside the road.

She said: “People who come to the shop make them.

I put them out in the evening. I left the shop at 9:30pm and at 8am when I came back I found the beagle had gone over night.”

The knitted dog was made by one of her customers as part of a charity fundraiser that Sandy runs to support people suffering from a condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa.

The charity she works with, RP Fighting Blindness, helps to support people who are blind or severely partially sighted.

Speaking about the condition, Sandy said: “Nine in ten people will not have heard of it but people are getting to hear about it more now because of the charity.”

The charity is especially close to her heart as Sandy’s mother-in-law is blind and her brother-in-law is partially sighted, leaving him unable to work.

She added: “Over the years we have managed to raise £3,000 for the charity through our yarn bombings.

It is a bit of fun but there is a more serious side to it.”

Sandy has been holding the events in the charity’s name for a number of years now, themed by season or with just a host of weird and wonderful creatures collected to help raise the spirits of passing people as well as raising money for the charity.

Thefts of Sandy and her friend’s creations is sadly not a new thing for the group.

In the first yarn bombing she held, a “great big rabbit” was stolen from the centre of her Easter-themed collection from the side of the same road.

She said: “A lady brought it back after she had found it in her garden, we think it could have just been a drunk person who took it after they had been out one night.”

Sandy is hopeful that on this occasion the beagle can also be returned quickly to its rightful home.

A public appeal that she made on social media about the lost yarn beagle received a terrific reaction from residents and work is under way to track it down.

Sandy says the beagle is about 15 inches long and nine inches tall.

In the meantime a replacement has already been lined up by one of the creators of the other eight animals, which include a poodle, sausage dog, and a Jack Russell.

A pug will sit on the railing in place of the Bodkins beagle where the animal will hopefully return. Sandy said: “They do not appreciate people spend a lot of time making them and I not do not pay them, it is all for the charity.”