Dog thieves have struck again in Hampshire today - stealing two cocker spaniels from their kennels.

It is the second time in 24 hours that dogs have been stolen in the county.

Around 3am two working cocker spaniels were taken from kennels in Owslebury, near Winchester.

The owner was woken by the sound of barking and upon investigating found 14-months-old Maisie and nine-months-old Tia missing, each worth £600.

Maisie is described as very lean with a docked tail and of orange roam colour while Tia is chocolate coloured with a white flash on her chest around 4cm long. Both dogs are microchipped.

Last night burglars broke into the back garden of a home in Bullington, near Andover, between 7.30pm and 10.30pm on and forced entry into a kennel of five dogs, stealing a six-year-old black and white male cocker spaniel called Jarvis, worth around £1,500.

It follows two incidents last month where two English springer spaniels were stolen from a back garden in Holbury and another dog was held for ransom for a week in Thornhill.

Two other suspicious incidents were reported over the weekend with a suspicious man scared away from kennels at a house in Beauworth, Alresford, at around 10pm on Sunday while a vehicle was seen stopped at dog kennels in Alresford Road, Ovington at 1am Monday before driving away.

No dogs were stolen at either address but police believe the incidents are linked.

Police are working closely with the Countrywatch team and will be increasing patrols in the areas. They also warn owners to make sure all animals are kept securely and micro chipped.

Sgt Mark Lamper, said: “During the festive period, more animals are purchased for pets. If you do buy a dog please ensure you know the history as you may be purchasing someone else's pet without knowing.”

Earlier this year a Daily Echo investigation found that pedigree dogs across Hampshire were being stolen. Our inquiries showed that thieves were targeting high-value breeds.

Dog rescue groups are warning that the expensive pets are being taken for breeding, hunting and to be sold on, while some say they are even used for fighting.

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