The disappearance of pets is an upsetting, distressing time for any family.

And for the Clarkes, that is no different - even though the pets in question are actually pigs.

The family took on the two young creatures - named Tammy and Ruby - in July from a farmer friend, as their mother was refusing to feed them. Since then, they have become much-loved family pets.

But the pair have now apparently been stolen, after vanishing from the stable where they were kept.

Karen Clarke said she thought the animals had been taken - and is desperately hoping they have not been taken for meat.

She said her two children Molly, 12, and Megan, 16, have been left heartbroken. Molly, is to celebrate her 13th birthday on October 13, and has said that the only wish is for the pigs to be brought back home.

Mrs Clarke, of Rollesby, said: 'Molly just asks that who ever took them to please bring them back, or let us know if they are in heaven now.'

Mrs Clarke, discovered that the pigs had gone missing last Friday morning. The pair were kept in a stable on a field off Pump Lane near the Caister bypass road on the A149.

The two piglets are believed to have been taken between 7pm on Thursday, October 1, and 8.45am on Friday, October 2.

She said: 'On Thursday morning I got to the stable and the locks were damaged as if sometime tried but failed to break in, and I had to fix the vault on the door that night.

'Then the following morning the metal hinges on the door were broken and the piglets were gone.

'I really don't know why they have been taken and what the plans with them are, but we are really worried about them and just hope that they are okay.'

Mrs Clarke also owns cockerels which were in the same stable as the piglets, but none of them went missing.

Following the piglets' disappearance, however, she has decided to move the cockerels.

She said: 'I am a bit paranoid about the rooster's safety so I have taken them to a friend's field for the time being.

'We were going to get a horse for the field but we are quite petrified about going there now as it is quite far back from the road, so we might look for a field elsewhere.

'If anyone can help us locate the piglets I will be eternally grateful.'

Police have confirmed that they are investigating the incident and ask anyone with information to call 101.