As lambing season approaches, police are asking farmers, smallholders and anyone with an interest in the countryside to be on the lookout for suspicious activity especially around livestock.

A spokesman for Dorset Police said: "Livestock thieves can strike overnight or during the day, it is so important to call police if any suspicious activity is seen. We are keen to hear from anyone with information no matter how small this might be.

"Offenders may use vehicles with trailers, vans or livestock lorries. If offenders are seen taking livestock then please call 999."

If you see anything suspicious police advise to get registrations number of vehicle and photos if possible and safe to do so.

Farmers and smallholders are urged to consider implementing the following advice to keep livestock secure:

n Keep gates to livestock locked and make sure hinges are capped to prevent gates being lifted off hinges

n Block up unused gateways with tree trunks, old machinery or other heavy objects

n Consider fitting wildlife or trail cameras to fields where livestock are present to detect vehicle or person movement

n Fit gate alarms which can be linked to a mobile phone

n Consider fitting early warning intervention alarms that will link to your phone

n Consider using livestock tracing systems

n Using signage to deter and prevent crime

Anyone wanting more information on measures available to protect livestock or if you would like a crime prevention visit to your farm or smallholding contact the rural crime team via