A WOMAN is due to face a trial after pleading not guilty to stealing a dog when its owner fell ill at a Bournemouth pub.

Donna Jeff, of Ringwood Road in Poole, appeared at Poole Magistrates' Court on Friday afternoon to deny a single count of theft.

Prosecutors allege Jeff, 53, took pet dog Sophie from The Moon in the Square on Sunday, November 27.

The black cockapoo's owner, Jeanette Sansome, suffered from a fit on the evening of the alleged theft.

Ms Sansome had earlier been befriended as she had a drink at Bournemouth's German-style Christmas market, it was reported.

Paramedics were called to the Wetherspoons in Exeter Road at around 11.30pm.

As ambulance crews and staff treated Ms Sansome, who is from the Buckinghamshire area, Sophie reportedly went missing.

Police later released information about the incident in a bid to reunite Ms Sansome with her pet. PC Steve Lea of Bournemouth police said the complainant had been left "distraught".

On Friday, December 9, a cockapoo was found on its own outside Hamworthy Library in Blandford Road, Poole.

The dog had been microchipped, and police quickly discovered it was Sophie.

When the dog was found, PC Lea told the Daily Echo: "The public's response to my appeal has been overwhelming and all the help we have received is very much appreciated.

"Without the public's help it would not have been possible to reunite the dog with its owner."

Almost a year after the incident, Jeff received a postal requisition to appear at the magistrates' court.

The defendant, who carried an overnight bag into the dock and walked with a stick, opted to have the case heard before a judge at Bournemouth Crown Court, and will appear for a plea and trial preparation hearing on November 30.