Family left heartbroken as pet goat stolen
HEARTLESS thieves have kidnapped a pygmy goat named Bella, leaving a grieving miniature horse and a devastated Brentwood family.
Fifteen-month-old Bella was removed from the pen she shared with her equine companion Holly, who has not been the same since.
The pair spend the majority of their time together, even nestling side by side as they sleep.
Three men were seen bundling the black and white miniature goat into a white Nissan van at about 9pm on July 31.
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The gang returned 30 minutes later, it is believed, in an attempt to steal Holly from the garden of the Skinner family.
The theft has cast gloom over the happy menagerie in Warescot Road, which includes a duckling called Rapunzel, a chick called Spiderman and a Rhode Island Red called Princess Aurora .
Holly is well known in Brentwood and is often seen being walked around the Skinner's neighbourhood.
Mother of three Emma Skinner regularly walks her up the high street. Her last major public outing was during a Jubilee street party.
Mrs Skinner, 33, said: "We are all devastated that Bella has gone.
"She is part of our family. But for Holly, it's really bad."
Just a month separates the two friends' birthdays, with the eldest, Bella, arriving in the Skinners' back garden farm just four weeks after Holly in January 2012.
Mrs Skinner said: "The two of them have grown up together. Holly usually has loads of energy, but now she just lies in her shed moping about.
"They are totally inseparable. Bella hates being away from Holly. She is going to be impossible. She is going to be going berserk.
"We went away for a weekend once and we put her in kennels for goats and we got a call saying we would have to take her back, she was that bad."
It is not difficult to see why the two friends will be missing each other. They sleep together every night and Bella makes a habit of riding on the back of Holly as she quietly grazes on the lawn outside.
Mrs Skinner, mother to Isabelle, 4, Jack 3, and Leo, 1, added: "It's so sad to see Holly like this. She is so miserable."
The theft happened as the family were inside watching TV.
It is thought Bella was with Holly or sleeping on top of the duck house at the time of the theft.
Mrs Skinner also has three hens and raised two Gloucester Old Spots in the back garden until they were sent for slaughter in July.
She said: "One of the neighbours came round and said they had just seen three white men open my side gate, go into the garden and steal Bella.
"I called the police and they came round really quickly. I went up the road to see someone who works with the RSPCA on the chance that they might get information about Bella, but on the way back the same white van had pulled up about 30 minutes after driving off with Bella. They saw me and then sped away.
"I got the number plate, but it turned out it had been cloned from another car.
"We think they came for our horse so won't be prepared with goat food or the correct goat enclosures.
"She may end up starving, escaping or being mistreated.
"If anyone knows where she is, please call the police. She will be making a such a racket being separated from us, so you will hear her."
Bella is recognisable by her Defra tags, one on each ear, coloured yellow and green and numbered 137.