A PENSIONER had to scramble through a hedge and run for help after thieves attempted to steal his pet dog inside a Selkirk cemetery.

The 75-year-old widower, who we agreed not to name, was visiting the Shawfield graveyard on Thursday afternoon with his pet Jack Russell .

Two men appeared from a white transit van, which was parked inside the burial grounds, before one gave chase.

The pensioner told us: "There was something strange about them and as soon as one of them starting walking in my direction, for some reason I thought they would be after my dog.

"I walked faster and faster and headed towards another part of the cemetery, but the man, who was on a phone the whole time, also started walking faster.

"When I looked round he was getting closer all the time so I climbed through a hedge and headed across the field to a nearby house.

"He was still coming after us and it was only when I met a couple on the road that he stopped.

"When I walked back down the road with the couple we could see the man running back to the van... they drove out the cemetery at speed.

"They could only have been after one thing and that was my dog."

The white van is described as having faded lettering on one side.

Earlier this spring a Galashiels man had to fight off two dog snatchers during a similar incident in Galashiels.

The 24-year-old was approached by the men, who also appeared from a white van, in Elm Row before they tried to grab his pedigree pug.

And during the festive season, Georgie and Ed Bell from near Jedburgh believe their two Border Terriers were stolen during a hunt on the Lothian Estates.

There have also been reports of other attempted dog snatches in Kelso and Hawick.

The Stolen And Missing Pets Alliance (SAMPA) believe as many as 60 dogs are being snatched every week across England, Scotland and Wales.

Police Scotland confirmed they have been made aware of the latest incident at Selkirk Cemetery last Thursday.