Fearful dog owners are being warned not to leave their dogs tied up outside shops or even alone in their own garden following a spate reports that could be linked to dog-napping.

On one occasion, a woman who was out walking her dog near Hornsea was reportedly stopped by a white van driver and asked how much it would cost for him to buy her beloved pet - just one of a series of incidents which police say they are treating "extremely seriously".

Owners are also being told to "be wary of strangers" who show an interest in their dog as Humberside Police investigate three reports made to them.

It is understood a report was made following one incident in Sigglesthorne, while a similar case was also reported in Brough.

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Thankfully, no one was harmed the incidents reported on Wednesday and no dogs were taken. Officers are working to trace the vehicle after its details were shared in reports to them and on social media.

"Yesterday we received three reports that a white Transit van was driving in the Hornsea area of the East Riding and stopped a number of people to ask them about the dogs they were walking.

"No one was harmed during these incidents and no dogs were attempted to be taken but it naturally concerned the people involved and we are pleased that they reported it to us.

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"These reports are taken extremely seriously and the information provided has already been acted upon to locate those in the vehicle.

"We are aware of the fear of dog owners following numerous social media posts about this type of event and would ask residents to report any similar incident to us and to take some basic steps to ensure the safety of themselves and their pets:

Report any suspicious activity to the police, if you see people checking out properties please call us to report your concerns to us on our non-emergency number 101."

A separate post issued by the force on Thursday evening also called on owners to styay vigilant while providing further guidance on how to prevent dog-napping.

"Please be aware we are getting numerous calls in with regards to a white Ford Transit van believed to be involved in the possible theft of dogs. If you see anything suspicious please contact Police on 101," it reads.

"Please be vigilant: