Farmers are being warned to take extra care of their shotguns by the Metropolitan Police.
The Met says rural dwellers should be aware that there has been a slow and steady increase in the use of shotguns by London criminals.
According to a report on Farming Today, incidents where shotguns have been used during a crime have risen 53% since the start of the year.
The police are advising gun-owners to take extra care, particularly when they are transporting their guns.
Farmers are advised to break guns down where possible and to carry them in bags that do not look as if they would contain a shotgun.
The police also suggest that, where possible, guns should be split into parts and divided across more than one secure gun cabinet when being stored in the home.