A 77-year old widow from Epsom has been left distraught, after police officers swooped in to “arrest” her dog Albert, a small Yorkshire terrier with missing teeth.

Ann Anderson, of Vernon Close, was at home on August 24 when three police officers and a sergeant came round to her house to seize her 6-year-old Albert with a dog seizure warrant from the magistrates' court.

Mrs Anderson, who lives alone, tried to stop officers from seizing her Albert but was reportedly told she would be arrested if she did not hand him over.

Surrey Police said they had received several complaints about the behaviour of the dog, including a report on July 20 that Albert had been left outside insecure and bitten a postal worker.

Mrs Anderson's daughter Donna said: “He’s a good boy. Yorkshire terriers are notoriously yappy little dogs. He has not bitten anybody. He’s literally just grabbed the postman's letters.”

Officers investigating the incidents have informed Mrs Anderson the dog would not be "destroyed" but would have to be surrendered in order to be rehomed. She has requested the case be taken to court, and Surrey Police is awaiting a court date.

Mrs Anderson, who has had the yorkie for two years, said she has not been allowed to visit Albert in the Chipstead kennel he was taken to and does not know whether she will see him again.

Donna added: “My mum loves the little dog. He’s her companion. He goes everywhere with her, for walks and shopping. The children from the local school call him a legend.”

Surrey Police said Mrs Anderson had signed a dog control measure, after Albert bit the ankles of a woman on April 7

The agreement meant she was required to control the dog while in public, including wearing a muzzle and lead, and ensure the dog is not able to escape its garden in order to prevent further injury to members of the public.

Failure to comply with any of the conditions could lead to the dog being seized and rehomed.