A stolen dog dumped by callous thieves has engineered a rescue by flagging down a passing RSPCA van more than 100 miles from its home.
Alfie the Yorkshire Terrier brought charity inspector Stephanie Law's van to a halt on a country road in Buckinghamshire, after dashing out of nearby woodland and into the middle of the lane, barking.
Braking to a stop, Ms Law then opened her door only for Alfie to immediately jump inside. Words: PA.
The RSCPA officer then scanned its microchip, revealing the dog to be a seven-year-old terrier stolen from a house in Wednesbury in the West Midlands on March 21.
However, Alfie's pack-mate and fellow Terrier Lillie, who was also taken in the theft, remains missing.
Ms Law said: "I have had plenty of people wave me down for help, but I have never actually been flagged down by a dog in need of rescue before.
Describing the unusual incident, she added: "I was just driving down the deserted road when I saw Alfie run towards me, clearly trying to attract my attention.
"He ran right in front of the van, barking, and as soon as I stopped and opened the door he just bounded in and jumped onto the seat - and looked at me.
"We can only assume he had been dumped in the woods and came running out when he heard me drive along."
Alfie, described as "a lovely, friendly dog", seemed none the worse for wear for the ordeal.
The RSPCA believe the burglars who took Alfie probably dumped the dog nearby before it made a rescue dash in Hawkswood Lane, Gerrards Cross, last week.
Now reunited, Alfie's 23-year-old owner Kirsty Mitton said: "We are over the moon to have Alfie back - we didn't think we would see him again, but so sad that Lillie is still missing.
"I just jumped straight in the car to drive the 112 miles as soon as I heard he was safe."
She said there was "no way" the dog could have been traced back to her, without its microchip, but then revealed five-year-old un-neutered Lillie does not have one fitted.
Anyone with information about the missing dog is urged to call the RSPCA on 0300 123 8018.
People can also donate £3 to the charity by texting HELP to 78866, with text costing £3 and one standard network rate message.
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