The burglers were brazen. They entered the yard on foot at 10.10pm. It was Monday 29 June, so there was still plenty of daylight. The dogs were barking, but then, an accomplice had driven down the lane, dropped them off at the lower gate at the bottom of the yard, and then continued down the lane as if he was one of the neighbours. The dogs bark when the neighbours go up and down.

As he passed back up after turning, the theft of three of Tommy Roche’s four springer spaniels was underway. While that car vanished, a jeep drove into the field of spring barley behind the house for the thieves to load the dogs and make their escape. It all took over 10 minutes as Tommy and his wife watched television inside, oblivious.