A DISTRAUGHT family has sent out an emotional plea for the return of their beloved horse after it was snatched by thieves.

Andrea Duckett, of Kendal, claimed her black and white horse, Cosby, was stolen from a field in Grayrigg, near Kendal, on Sunday, July 7.

The gate had allegedly been taken off its hinges.

Cosby, aged 12, has very distinctive marks including four white socks and a bright white blaze down its face.

“There are some truly horrible people out there,” said Miss Duckett. "It’s absolutely heartbreaking what has happened, I miss him so very much and just want him back, he is so loved.”

This theft has also had a traumatic impact on his best friend Leah O’Hara, Miss Duckett’s fiancee’s niece.

According to Leah’s mother, Claire Haslett, also of Kendal, the pair were “inseparable”.

“Leah knows Cosby has gone,” said Miss Haslett. "She still cries a lot and just wants him back home. It’s hard to understand why someone would take him and we just want him back as we love him so much."

Miss Haslett said that people had been fantastic in spreading the appeal across social media.

She added that the family had received many kind messages from strangers wanting to help.

Cumbria Police has confirmed the theft of the horse and are appealing for anyone with information to call them on 101.

Here is the appeal.