A FAMILY pet miniature pony was stolen by a gang of thieves – who squeezed the little animal into a car.

The 29-inch high, two-year-old distinctively marked Shetland pony was pushed into the small vehicle after being snatched from the site off Canewdon Road, Ashingdon last Friday.

Devastated owner John Lowe, 20, says the thieves shoved his beloved pet into a car and sped away.

He said: “It happened between 9pm and 10pm and I found out the following morning when I went to the site.

“The gate and chains were cut and a neighbour heard them using a small grinder cutting tool to get into the field.

“The neighbour also saw the three men in a Ford Fiesta around this area at this time.

“I’ve had her about seven months and also have two other Shetland ponies.

“They are pets and I am just so gutted, she was my favourite pony too.

“I am so concerned for her welfare and how she’s being treated, that’s the main worry.

“My whole family is missing her so much.

“I just want anyone who has any information to come forward and help find her.”

Mr Lowe, of Hockley, said there will be a big cash reward for any information that helps to find his family pet.

He said the community has been left outraged and this sort of incident is unheard of.

The animal lover said: “It’s just awful that people feel they can do this when we are all feeling at our lowest and feeling stuck inside.

“She’s a lovely and very friendly pony but would have been nervous of people in the dark.

“I just hope she’s not being mistreated, the whole thing would have been very distressing for her. The other ponies know she’s gone and are missing her, and I am sure she’s missing them as well.

“They also let the other ponies out into the road when the broke in and that could have killed someone.”

He said a kind neighbour helped and put the animals back in the field.

He said he wants to make her too hot to handle in an effort to get her home.

He has also posted about the incident on Facebook and his messages have received thousands of shares.

The animal’s colouring is bay and white, with a white tail.

Anyone with any information should call Essex Police on 101.