A PUPPY stolen from a Hampshire attraction has been reunited with her owners after being handed in at a vets surgery 72 miles away.

Bella, a five-month-old French Bulldog, was spirited away from the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, on Easter Sunday after being left in a designated dog area.

Her owners publicised the theft on social media and police issued a CCTV image of a woman carrying a dog.

Last night it emerged that Bella had been handed to a vet at Windsor in Berkshire by a woman who then disappeared after saying she had left her daughter in the car.

Staff scanned Bella's microchip and reunited her with her owners, Peter and Abbey Joiner of Herne Bay in Kent.

No-one was more pleased than the couple's eight-year-old daughter Imogen, who cried herself to sleep every night after Bella was stolen.

Abbey said: "Imogen is overjoyed - she's got her best friend back.

"After Bella had finished playing with all her toys she and Imogen sat on the sofa together, cuddling and watching TV. It was lovely."

The family had all but given up of hope of ever seeing Bella again.

Last Saturday, almost two weeks after she was taken, they received a telephone call saying she had been handed in at the Forest House Veterinary Group in Windsor.

Abbey said: "We made the one-and-a-half hour journey to the surgery and she was back with us on Saturday night.

"Bella was very excited, very emotional - a bit tired but pleased to be home."

Anne-Marie Griffiths, practice manager at Forest House, said: "Someone called to say their dog was not very well and we asked her to bring the animal in.

"When she arrived she said she'd left a small child in the car. She returned to the vehicle and drove away, leaving us with the dog.

"We scanned the animal's microchip and rang the owner.

"It's always great to reunite owners with their missing pets, which is something we can do quickly and easily when they've been chipped.

"Everyone at the reunion was very excited and emotional. Knowing the background to Bella's disappearance made it all the more lovely."

The thief is thought to have had second thoughts or been alarmed following the huge amount of publicity surrounding the theft.

A Hampshire Police spokesman said: "We can confirm that the dog has been reunited with its owner. Enquiries are on going in relation to the theft allegation and no arrests have been made."