THE doggy daughter of a four-legged soap star has been stolen, prompting a call for her return from an East Lancashire celebrity pet trainer.

Carrie, the Shih Tzu offspring of Coronation Street's Mr Woo, was taken from her breeder by dognappers, it has been revealed.

A £1,000 reward has now been offered for the return of the 22-week-old, who was bred for fame and was due to soon begin filming her first starring role in a television drama.

She was trained by Clitheroe-based Kevin Horkin, who also took on and found the role for Mr Woo - the on-screen pet of Rita Sullivan and Norris Cole - played by Burnley actor Malcolm Hebden.

Mr Horkin said: "I am shocked. I have heard of people who have had their dogs taken but it has never happened to me. It is a nasty offence that seems to be on the increase.

"People think dogs are worth something. Whereas a burglar would have stolen a TV or video before, now they are looking for dogs.

"Anybody that goes out to commit an offence and to steal dogs like that wouldn't have any care for its well-being, they are just looking to sell it."

He said the dog could be sold on for as much as £1,000.

Mr Horkin, of Waddington Road, said: "It could be anybody who knows the score and is unscrupulous in taking the dog. Or it could be somebody unsuspecting who has been offered it through the friend of a friend of a friend."

The trainer, who has placed all the soap's animals since the late 1980s, said: "Any dog that is a pedigree dog and doesn't have its pedigree papers should set off alarm bells for the buyer."

The dog was to star in a 90 minute drama to be screened next year, he added.

She was bred by Elaine McDonald and stolen from her Oldham home on Wednesday last week.

Mrs McDonald was out at the time when the thieves broke into the kennel at the back of her house, and she is now offering the reward for her return.

The breeder, who also raised Mr Woo, said: "It is beyond belief. Mr Woo does not seem to be affected by it but the bitch, Lottie, is very upset.

"I don't know how people can do this.

"It is unbelievable, how can people take dogs?

It is a life. You never let a Shih Tzu off a lead because they have no road sense. "

A spokesman for Oldham police said: "We received a report at 10.15pm on September 13 that a dog had been stolen from a house in Oldham.

"It is believed that a woman entered the back garden of a house and stole a pet dog belonging to a 66-year-old woman. She is believed to have made off in a Black Alfa Romeo car."

Anyone with information should call Oldham police on 0161 872 5050 and Mr Horkin on 01254 389858.