Great news! She's been found abandoned in a quiet lane near the downs on the outskirts of the village and returned safe and sound to her very relieved mum and dad.
The general consensus is that she was stolen this morning, then when the thieves realised she was too old to breed from and not a trained gun dog they left her on the roadside nearby.
Everyone is over the moon. I guess the lesson for all us dog owners is to be watchful and vigilant no matter the time of day or night.
One thing I have learnt today is that gangs of dog thieves mark properties where there is, for example, a gun dog, with a small unobtrusive sticker to let other members of the gang know there is a dog worth stealing there. It's worth periodically checking the outside of your house for such a mark. Its not nice to feel threatened and no one wants to become paranoid, but if you do have dogs its a simple enough step to take just to be on the safe side.