The worried owners of a dog which was reported stolen wept tears of joy after Doncaster police returned the animal to them after finding him in an abandoned caravan.
Ari, a four year old springer spaniel, was reported stolen from a car which had been broken into near Donaster Racecourse on Saturday, during the Countryside and Game Fair which took place at the weekend.
His distraught owners launched their own search for their dog, which appealing to the public on social media to help them.
Joining the search was South Yorkshire PC John Yorke, a dog loving policeman who was at one stage a dog handler with the force.
He tracked the dog down to a caravan park near Armthorpe Road, and found Ari hidden out of view in a derelict caravan.
Doncaster based Pc Yorke said: “I came on duty and found an email from CID about what had happened, and saying keep a look out, with a picture attached.
“I made a search and found Ari in a derelict caravan.
“I was over the moon to find him.
“I contacted the owners who had been been searching Doncaster looking for their dog. When I handed him over to them, they were in tears, tears of joy at getting him back.
“You could see the dog was elated to be back with his owners.
“He was found in a derelict caravan but there is nothing to suggest travellers had taken him.
“Anecdotally, I think dog thefts on on the increase. People should make sure their dogs are microchipped to help find them.”
No one has been arrested in connection with the incident.
Earlier this year it was reported that dog thefts were on the increase in South Yorkshire, with 108 reported last year.
Figures released by South Yorkshire Police under the Freedom of Information Act, showed that there were 98 thefts in 2016 and 71 in 2015.
Police advise owners to try to ensure their home and garden are secure and avoid leaving dogs on their own for long periods of time. If possible, try and make sure your dog is registered with a vet and is microchipped as well, so that if a dog is recovered, it can be easily identified and their owner traced.