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Man stole woman’s three chihuahuas and left them seriously injured – one of them fatally – next to railway line

A man broke into a woman’s home and stole her three chihuahuas, leaving them seriously injured next to the Liverpool Street to Bishop’s Stortford railway line.

One of them was so badly hurt that it had to be put to sleep, a court was told.

Essex Police were called to a residential address in East Park, Harlow, at around 2.30pm on September 18 last year following reports of a burglary in which three chihuahuas were stolen.

The suspect was quickly identified as 46-year-old Mark Linford, who was found within an hour of the initial report in a field near Sheering. He was arrested on suspicion of burglary.

The dogs – Nacho, Parker and Lola – were found later that day next to the rail track at Harlow Mill with serious injuries. Nacho’s injuries were so severe that he had to be put to sleep.

Linford was further arrested on suspicion of three counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and was charged on September 19 with all offences.

Mark Linford
Mark Linford

At Chelmsford Crown Court on April 4, Linford, of Aston End, near Stevenage, pleaded guilty to burglary and three counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal. He was sentenced to a total of two-and-a-half years in prison.

He was also issued with a restraining order against the victim and was ordered to pay her compensation. He was also made the subject of an animal disqualification order.

Following the sentencing, the victim said: “No sentence given to Mark Linford (Marco) will ever do justice for the loss of my little Nacho and the devastation it’s caused the whole family and the other two dogs.

“You never think that something so awful could ever happen to you. Our animals are like our children, totally innocent.”

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