DOG thieves are targeting gun dog breeds in the New Forest, warn police.

Dog owners are being urged to be vigilant after three spaniels were stolen in the last few weeks.

And thieves have attempted to steal three more dogs.

Western Country Watch sergeant Louise Hubble said: “Dogs that are housed externally are the ones that are being targeted so it is vital that they are kept secure. Most of the dogs that have been stolen recently are gun dog breeds, like spaniels.

“Every dog owner needs to improve security and consider floodlights and alarms.”

She added: “We have some lines of enquiry that we are following up at the moment.”

Anyone who knows someone who has acquired or been offered spaniels are asked to contact the Safer Neighbourhoods Team on 101.