A PUPPY’S owner has expressed her shock after a crook tried stealing her beloved pooch in a callous robbery attempt.

At about 6.20pm on Friday (March7), the 21-year-old was walking her 14-week-old Bichon Frise Charlie along St James Road in Brentwood when a man approached her.

He asked questions about the dog before suddenly trying to grab him.

In the melee which ensued, the crook punched the owner in the face before kicking Charlie before fleeing the scene.

Vets initially thought the puppy had dislocated and broken a hip and suffered three leg breaks, but further examinations downgraded his injuries to soft tissue damage.

Speaking to the Weekly News, the owner who wished not to be named said she is still deeply upset by the incident.

She said: “At first when he came over I thought he was a normal person wanting to ask the usual questions about my dog, but then he just tried grabbing Charlie.

“I was so worried about my dog because he is so tiny and young.

“All I could think of doing was running away so I picked up Charlie and tried to do so but the man wouldn’t stop and that’s when he punched me.

“As he struggled he kicked Charlie and then ran off. I couldn’t believe what had happened.”

Charlie has been allowed to return home from the vets to recover from his injuries.

However, his owner said the episode has had a noticeable affect on his behaviour.

“Charlie is like a child to me,” she said.

“Thankfully his injuries are not as bad as first thought but it has really affected Charlie badly.

“My brother came round on Sunday night and Charlie hid the whole time because he was that scared of a man he didn’t recognise.

“I would urge anyone who can help the police to contact them so we can get justice.”

The culprit is described as black, aged around 30, about 6ft tall, of medium build and wearing a grey bobble hat, black hooded jacket and black jogging bottoms.

Anyone with information should contact Brentwood CID by calling 101 or phone Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.