Several parts of the UK have reported a spate of poultry thefts in recent weeks, prompting police to urge vigilance.

North Yorkshire police warned poultry keepers earlier this week after several bird thefts, including chickens worth a total of £500 stolen from Airy Hill, near Filey.

Scarborough & District Country Watch said that “extra vigilance is suggested for anyone who owns farm premises at this time.” Chickens and turkeys were also stolen from two other locations last month – East Ayton, near Seamer and Filey.

Sergeant Matt Millington said the spate of poultry thefts was new to the area and a pattern was emerging. He said: “It’s difficult for the farming to prevent this sort of crime.”

A number of thefts have also been reported further south in the Fens. One incident saw £2000-worth of chickens stolen from a pen near Chatteris, Cambridgeshire.

Six free-range birds were taken from outside a bungalow near March and two birds were taken from a front garden in a another part of the town by two men in a passing car.

Police advice includes keepers ensuring their perimeter fencing is not damaged and to repair any holes or weaknesses.

“Also consider if the site has mains power, installing security lighting such as infra-red motion detector lights or alarms. Even displaying signs warning criminals that property on the site has been marked and is traceable can help.”