A stolen van was discovered ... with the owners dog also stowed inside.

Officers made the find in Basildon but were surprised to see the guide dog in the vehicle too.

Police from Essex Police's Operational Support Group discovered the stolen dog and van in the town.

A spokesman said: "Eagle eyed officers found this recently stolen Ford in Basildon whilst on Op Sceptre patrols.

"What they also found.....was a guard dog belonging to the same victim inside. Perhaps the thief had a change of heart when they realised what awaited them."

The team conducts force-wide operations using specialist assets.