ANIMAL-lover Albert Romaine has been left devastated after his nine young puppies were stolen on Monday.

The 53-year-old from Rodbourne had left his home on Percy Street between 8.30am and 10.30am to pop into town, and when he returned he found that the border collie-cross pups had been taken.

At just five weeks old, the puppies are still being weaned and Albert is concerned that without their five-year-old mum, Lexi, they might die.

Albert, who also has two cats and some fish, said: “They were there when I went out but they were gone when I got back.

“I was in bits. I searched all over the house for them and I was shaking.

“I was so angry.”

Yesterday afternoon, a 29-year-old man was arrested in connection with the burglary and has been remanded in custody.

It is thought that the person or people who stole the pups entered Albert’s property by using the spare key, which they may have stolen at an earlier time.

Witnesses also reported seeing two men and a woman carrying the dogs away from the area towards Sainsbury’s in West Swindon on Monday morning.

Albert is hoping that the pups will be returned safely to him.

He said: “It’s so quiet here now. I really miss them.

“They really need to be back with their mum. They might die without her since they haven’t learned all the basic skills they need.”

Although two of the smallest puppies were returned to Albert on Tuesday evening, the hunt is still on to locate the other seven.

The person who found the puppies said that he had saved them from being thrown into the canal.

Albert said: “I just cried when I heard that two of them had been found. I felt a little bit better because I had two of them coming back.

“I would be very, very pleased if they turned up, I would be over the moon if they were returned.”

The first person Albert told was his friend, Tina Perkins, who has been helping him to track down the dogs.

The 27-year-old from Pinehurst said: “I was gutted for Albert when I heard because he loved those puppies. He has no family and his animals are his family.

“The pups really need their mum because they aren’t fully weaned. Fortunately they have just started eating puppy food but they really need their mum.

“We just want them returned unharmed. The people who have taken them could leave them at the vets, or contact DogLost.”

The pups have a mixture of black and white colourings, many are mainly white with black markings around the head.

The police are continuing to investigate the incident and are appealing for witnesses to come forward with information.

Anyone who may have any information should call the police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.