Two litters of puppies have been stolen in a knife-point burglary.

A man wearing a high-viz jacket claiming to be from a utility company knocked on the door of the house and the teenage boy inside let him in.

Two other men, wearing gloves and balaclavas then forced their way in.

They threatened the boy before stealing seven French Bulldog puppies and four Dachshund puppies.

Two handbags and a mobile phone were also taken.

The incident happened in Hogarth Reach, Loughton, at 2pm on Monday.

The dog's owner, Mark Orley, is offering a £50,000 reward for the dogs' safe return.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Jody Greenfield, from Loughton CID, said: “We are extremely concerned about the welfare of the puppies as they are very young and they’ve been separated from their mother.

“Unless they’re in the hands of experts there is a very real chance they might not survive beyond a few days.

“Fortunately this type of incident is not common in Essex but we’d urge anyone who breeds or keeps dogs to make sure they’re taking steps to protect their animals.

“Our advice is no to open external doors to anyone who’s not expected, take details of anyone who’s not familiar or vehicles near to houses or buildings where breeding takes place, and ensure dogs and puppies are kept in as secure a location as possible.”

If you saw or heard anything, have CCTV, were driving in the area and have dash cam footage or have any information please call us on 101 quoting the crime reference number 42/157577/18.

Alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers 100 percent anonymously on 0800 555 111.