CONCERNED pedigree dog owners in West Oxfordshire alerted police after their homes were 'marked'.

Thames Valley Police urged residents of the Wychwoods area, near Witney, to 'remain vigilant' and 'change their routine'.

The force confirmed that properties in the area have been marked with differing coloured elastic bands, either around the gatepost or wheelie bins.

It is believed these homes were targeted because pedigree dogs live there.

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In post on Facebook aimed at raising awareness, police said: "Clearly this is of concern to all dog owners, and we ask that that you all remain vigilant and where possible to report this either online via the TVP website or on the 101 number.

"General advice is to change your routine, go out walking at differing times, where appropriate make sure your dog is on a short lead.

"We would further advise that if your dog stays in the house, then move its location to a harder to reach area and less visible to the outside.

"Lastly, do not post anything on social media with respect to your dog, or any potential litters."