A troubled couple paid a £ 200 reward after their Range Rover was stolen with the ashes of three popular cats.

Naomi Rhys Thomas, 48, previously conducted a cat rescue and is now taking in sick and abandoned cats with her husband Toby.

She said, “We don’t care about the car, but we really want to get the ashes back.”

The couple had 27 cats in their home near Hollingworth Lake in Littleborough, Rochdale.

Unfortunately, three died before Christmas – Nana Florence, Archie and Eira.

Naomi said they were cremated in a pet crematorium in Bury and Toby collected the ashes on Wednesday.

On the way home, he stopped at Kingsway Retail Park in Rochdale, but thieves stole the Range Rover Evoque from the parking lot after briefly walking into a store.

The ashes were in a footwell in a standard ash hose in a purple Legacy Pets bag, the crematorium the couple used.

Naomi with husband Toby and one of their cats

Naomi, who was forced to close down Bluebell Cat Rescue in Littleborough in 2019 due to lack of funding, said: “We don’t want the car.

“We just want the cats.”

She said the police have been alerted and are investigating, but the ashes are missing.

The couple also take in cats at the end of their lives from other rescue workers.

Get the latest updates from across Greater Manchester straight to your inbox with the free MEN newsletter

You can easily sign up by following the instructions here

Naomi, a qualified attorney, said she plans to keep the cats in a memorial urn alongside other urns they have in her home.

“The car is all metal and insured, but our cats’ ashes are priceless,” she said.

“We only had Nana Florence for a month.

“Her personality was beautiful and we took her in as a recreational cat.

“Archie was a recreational cat too. He was found wandering the streets with dementia and no chip.

“He was with us for 15 months.”

The pipe and the bag that contained the ashes

“We nursed Eira – Welsh because of snow – back to health and had him for four years.

“He couldn’t even get up when we got him, but became a beautiful boy with a shiny coat who loved walking around the garden.”

Naomi said the theft happened just before 4 p.m. on March 31, when Toby was at The Range store.

“He came out to smash glass all over the floor,” she said.

“At the time there were a lot of people and it was busy. We reported it to the police and they are investigating.

“The cats are so precious to us.

“It doesn’t matter how long we’ve had her. It’s heartbreaking.

Naomi said she feared the ash tube might have been dumped.

“I can’t stand the thought that we won’t have her back,” she said.

“After such difficult lives, they need the respect of a good, final resting place.”

Naomi and Toby posted the appeal and reward on Facebook – and shared photos of the cats, the ash hose, and the bag they were in.

The Range Rover is black with registration number MV12 OKR.

“If someone knows something, he can return the ashes without question.

“Please, we are disturbed,” added Naomi.

“I’m devastated and just want my babies back.”

Email at [email protected]