Pictures of a man wanted in connection with stealing a spaniel outside a Friern Barnet supermarket have been released.

Philomena Hynes of North Finchley tied Ted, her Cavalier King Charles spaniel, to a railing outside Tesco Express in Friern Barnet Lane, New Southgate, at 4.25pm on Saturday, December 8.

The 75-year-old, who is partially deaf, returned from the shop minutes later to discover her beloved pet was missing.

A staggering 52,820 people followed the bid to find Ted on social networking site Twitter.

Last Wednesday Mrs Hynes’ family received a phone call from a young girl who said she found the four-year-old dog tied to a gate in Friary Park, Friern Barnet.

Mrs Hynes told the Times Series: “I couldn’t believe it. It’s absolutely fantastic and I’m so elated. I’m thrilled to bits to have Ted back.”

Acting detective sergeant Louise Smith, from Barnet police, said: "Officers attended their address to see him fast asleep on the sofa and looking forward to a hearty chicken dinner that evening after his ordeal.

“This case really does show the part social media can play in fighting crime - we think there was so much publicity about Ted that he was too hot to hold.”

Police want to speak with a man captured on CCTV footage. He is described as white, of medium build and in his 20s with short cropped light-brown/ginger hair. He has a tattoo on the left side of his neck and was wearing a dark top, white T-shirt, jeans and white trainers. 

Anyone who knows this man is urged to contact police.