Police in Wantage have invested in new technology allowing them to check dogs for microchips.

The device will allow officers to check animals against a national database for a unique identification number.

PC Steve Lynch, who purchased the equipment as part of Operation Migrate. He said: “As part of the operation we will be attending a number of hare coursing events.

“When we have checked dogs at these events in the past we have discovered a number have been stolen.

“The scanner will allow us to check all dogs at these events quickly and easily and identify if any of them have been reported stolen.

“We will also be using them when attending warrants at addresses where we suspect there may be a large number of animals kept.

“And to help us keep dogs safe, we recommend that owners have their dogs microchipped by their vet as soon as possible.

“Once an animal is chipped we recommend it wears a disc on its collar with the word ‘microchipped’ to encourage anybody who finds the dog to have it scanned and to deter thieves.”

A microchip is a completely secure tamperproof way to ensure your contact details are stored safely, enabling the return of your animal.

Microchip scanners are also held by Veterinary Practices, Dog Wardens and the RSPCA together with other animal rescue organisations.