COUNTY residents have been told to secure outbuildings after a spate of thefts.

Police have told anyone who owns a shed, barn, garage or outbuilding containing valuable items to be on their guard.

This comes after a spate of thefts across the Hart district but police say this is happening across the country.

The suspects are said to be targeting farm machinery, quad bikes, All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs), as well as anything of value like power tools.

As a result, officers are advising that these buildings should be secure and alarmed and owners should consider installing CCTV, tracker devices and automatic security lights.

Neighbourhood Inspector Jen Lovegrove said: “We believe many of these thefts are connected to organised crime groups who are exporting stolen quad bikes abroad.

"This shows a level of planning by the criminals, so being aware and reporting suspicious vehicles and people is really important.

"The community are our eyes and ears and we encourage you to report all incidents as soon as you are able to by calling 101 if it’s not an emergency. If it’s happening there and then, always call 999.

“You can also report suspicious activity online (if it’s not an emergency) by visiting our website or clicking on this link:"