POLICE have warned dog owners to increase security measures following recent thefts.

Cocker spaniels were stolen from kennels in Bullington, near Sutton Scotney, and Owslebury, near Winchester, on December 30 and 31 respectively.

Detective Inspector Tim Ireson from Andover CID said: “The dogs which have been targeted during these incidents are highly trained working dogs which are kept in external kennels.

“I would urge members of the community who own animals of this kind to ensure their security measures are adequate to prevent any further incidents.

“Make sure your dogs have been micro chipped and that you have recent photographs of them to help identify them if they are stolen or go missing. Consider an alarm system, security lights and improved locks.

“Officers from our Countrywatch teams have been visiting the victims and gamekeepers in the affected areas to offer crime prevention advice and will be continuing to do this. “I would urge you to report any suspicious activity around your kennels, no matter how small it may seem, as it could help us to find those responsible.”

Anyone with any information on the incidents should contact the Winchester Rural North Safer Neighbourhoods Team on 101 or call Crimestoppers, the charity, anonymously on 0800 555111.