A BORDERS family have been left heartbroken this week after believing they were about to be reunited with their missing Border terriers.

Ruby and Beetle were snatched from a Jedburgh estate near the home of Georgie and Edward Bell between last Christmas and new year.

A massive online appeal, with a £10,000 reward, had failed to reunite the owners with their dogs.

But over the weekend hopes were raised after a caller claimed to have bought the missing pets.

Georgie and Edward were led on a wild goose chase by a man claiming to have Ruby and Beetle.

On realising the dogs may have been stolen, he claimed he no longer wanted the dogs and didn't want any part of the reward money.

The caller even allowed one of his children to talk on the phone, vouching that they had bought the terriers in good faith.

An agreement was reached with Ruby and Beetle to be returned - the caller even declined the offer of the £10,000 reward.

Georgie explained: "I have once again been in a position of utter heartbreak and desperation.

"I tried desperately to return the call but nothing.

"I was sure he was telling me the truth and the fact he used his children to firm up his story, he sounded so sincere and honest to my cause. I tried to ring him back, text him and got no reply.

"On Sunday morning I asked a group member with experience in this field to help, I sent her over all the details and asked if she could investigate this further, she had friends in places close to him, and they confirmed they knew of him and he was a genuine enough person."

After making further contact with the caller, an agreement was reached for the dogs to be dropped off at a vets.

But on Monday morning, the day of the meeting, the man decided he wanted some of the reward money.

Having offered the reward twice, with it being declined both times, Georgie was happy to oblige.

And it was agreed for £1000 to be left at the same veterinary practice for collection once the dogs were identified as Ruby and Beetle.

A friend of Georgie's waited at the vets with the reward money - and despite answering a call to say he was 'two minutes away' never arrived.

Georgie added: "No dogs, no truth in the story and no money exchanged.

"Another savage, hard lesson learnt.

"To use someone’s pain and grief to try and extort money from them is unfortunately another cruel act of dog theft.

"Once again we have been victims. When will this pain end?"

The couple are continuing to appeal for the safe return of Beetle and Ruby.

Friend Stacey Frith, has also set-up a Christmas sticker effort to spread awareness of the missing Terriers.