A STOLEN pony is set to be reunited with its owner after it was found dumped at the side of a busy road 35 miles away.

Shadow, a three-year-old grey horse standing at 14-hands, was discovered on a 60mph limit road in rain and fog, near Rivington, less than 48 hours after being snatched from Sowclough Farm, Stacksteads.

Claire Swift, a grandmother-of-six from Newchurch, said she was ‘sick with worry’ after finding out Shadow had gone missing.

Mrs Swift, of Woodside Crescent, said: “It’s been an absolute night-mare. Shadow’s my baby. I had a stroke in November, and my husb-and is very ill at the moment, and when we found out Shadow had been stolen, we were devastated.

“My ten-year-old granddaughter Dianna rides him too, and she was very upset.”

Family friend Stephen Whiteman, from Stacksteads, posted pict-ures of Shadow on Facebook when he was discovered missing by farmer Sandra Phillips on Monday.

Mr Whiteman, 30, said: “I work with Shadow, so I was really worr-ied when he was taken. I spent two days posting online to as many people as I could in the hopes som-eone would recognise him and get in touch with me, which somebody did.”

Through a string of Facebook posts, the person who found Shadow realised whose horse he was, took the pony to a nearby farm, and contacted him. Mr Whiteman said: “We drove straight over there and, as soon as I called his name, Shadow came running over.”

Mrs Swift said: “I was so reliev-ed. I was in hospital when they found him, so I haven’t seen him yet, but I can’t wait to have him home.”

The family will be moving Shadow to a local, more secure farm. A police spokeswoman said: “The horse was stolen between 4.30pm and 8pm on Monday, from a farm with one gate in Sowcl-ough Road, and was found at around 2pm on Wednesday. Anyone with information should call police on 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.”