A desperate search has been launched after a Shetland pony described as “one of the family” was stolen in Wiltshire.

Maisey, a 16-year-old Shetland pony, was stolen from her paddock in Upper Castle Combe on the night of Tuesday, July 11, or the early hours of the following morning.

Her owners were devastated to discover that their beloved pet was missing when they arrived at the field the next day.

Becky Sainsbury, whose boyfriend’s mum Alisson Wood has owned Maisey for around 12 years, said the theft had a huge impact on their lives, leaving them “distraught.”

She said: “It’s a nightmare, you see these types of things on Facebook, but you never imagine it’s going to happen to yours.

“Maisey is definitely a part of the family and she’s the companion for another horse who is very distressed because she’s all she’s ever known.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Maisey the Shetland ponyMaisey the Shetland pony (Image: Becky Sainsbury)

“I can imagine Maisey is in a lot of distress so it’s really sad somebody would do that, we’re very worried.”

The family believe Maisey was led over a stone wall, round the back of the field, and loaded into a vehicle, based on the hoof and tyre marks left at the scene.

They are desperately appealing for help in their search to bring her home.

Maisey is described as 31 inches tall and brown and white in colour with distinctive rings around her hooves due to laminitis.

Her owners added she is very vocal and will respond if her name is called.

Their concern has been increased by the fact Maisey is currently on a special diet due to laminitis and could be put at risk if she is not properly cared for.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Maisey the Shetland ponyMaisey the Shetland pony (Image: Becky Sainsbury)

Ms Sainsbury added: “She has to be managed properly which hugely adds to our worry.

“Maisey is prone to colic when she is stressed and if she isn’t seen by a vet, unfortunately, she will pass away or be in a lot of pain.”

Police are now investigating and have urged anybody who has information on her whereabouts to come forward.

A spokesperson for the force said: “We have received a report that a 16-year-old brown and white Shetland pony was stolen from a field in Upper Castle Combe between 8pm on July 11 and 2pm on July 12.

“Enquiries are ongoing and anyone with information should call 101 and quote crime reference number 54230073017.”