The enraged owner of a litter of stolen puppies has offered £50,000 for information leading to the thieves who stormed into his house and threatened his children with knives.

Mark Orley left his house in Loughton for an hour yesterday, leaving his teenage children to look after a litter of puppies, some as young as 11 days old.

The breeder's 16 year-old son Mitchell answered a knock on the door, only to be confronted with three masked men claiming to be from British Gas.

Threatening the teenager with a knife, the men stormed into the house and grabbed four dachshunds and seven French bulldogs before fleeing.

The raid prompted Mr Orley, 44, to post an impassioned video on Facebook urging anyone with information to come forward.

He said: "These dogs are too hot to handle.

"They have been stolen from my house this morning with my two kids being held at knifepoint.

"These puppies could die in the next 24 hours as four of them are away from their mother's milk and are too young to be weaned."

Mr Orley originally offered a reward of £20,000, which was soon upped to £50,000.

He added: "I just need to get these pups back because I desperately don't want them to die.

"I want one name for these people who went through my door and round my kids.

"I will give someone £20,000. Do me a favour. I just want one name. It's all I need now and I'll deal with it myself."

Mr Orley has been breeding for seven years and has previously advertised puppies for sale for up to £20,000.

Essex Police said: 'We are investigating following a burglary in Loughton where a number dogs were stolen.

"Three men forced their way into an address in Hogarth Reach at around 2pm on Monday, October 29."

On Saturday eight newborn French Bulldog puppies were stolen by two armed men in Greater Manchester.

Six of the eight puppies died before being reunited with their mother.