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South East theft hotspot

ONE In four dog thefts in the UK are in the South East, according Rupert Ashby, regional director of the Country Land and Business Association.

"This is a year-round problem for our rurally-based members, but dog theft is rife in town and country alike, particularly in the South East," he said. "We just want to warn people, as Christmas approaches, to be on their guard. Those involved in this criminal trade will see Christmas as an opportunity."