BURGLARS attacked two dogs with a golf club and pepper spray after forcing their way into a York house.

North Yorkshire Police said the raid happened at a house in School Lane, Copmanthorpe, when offenders kicked through a metal security bolt enforcing the dog flap, and forced their way inside.

A spokesman said the thieves used a golf club to subdue Hector and Chika, a Rhodesian ridgeback and a ridgeback cross, leaving Hector - which was rescued from Cyprus after being badly treated as a puppy - with a lump on his head.

The spokesman said both dogs' coats smelled of pepper spray following the incident, and while Hector’s injury was minor, "both dogs have been affected mentally by the incident".

Owner Helen Edmondson said: “Hector hasn’t had an easy life and his behaviourist said because of what’s happened to him this will set him back because it’s a trust issue now.

“He’s very subdued, very quiet and still very jumpy when somebody is coming to put post in the box.”

The thieves, who struck between 5.30pm and 7.30pm on Friday, November 23, stole golf clubs, jewellery and cash, and officers said they want to find the occupants of a white van seen in the area at the time.

Investigator Dave Pegg, of York Investigation Hub, said: "Burglary is very intrusive and traumatic for the victims, and in this case, the owners’ pets have also been traumatised which has added to their distress.

"The suspects entered the house through a large dog flap. Our advice to anyone with a dog flap is to ensure it is not big enough to allow a human – child or adult - through it.

"The owners in this case are removing theirs and urging others not to fit them. We are appealing to anyone who has any information that could help us identify the suspects, including anyone who saw any suspicious vehicles or activity in the School Lane area at the time.

"In particular, we urge the occupants of a white van seen in the area at the time or anyone who can help identify them, to contact us."

Anyone with any information should phone 101, email dave.pegg@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk or contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111 quoting reference 12180219086.