RESIDENTS across Cheshire are being given the chance to help defend their Land Rover Defenders from thieves.

Cheshire Police’s Rural Crime Team has been handing out stickers which feature the wording 'Police Stop Me', in a bid to prevent and deter the highly sought after vehicles from being stolen.

The stickers are being placed in the back window of the Land Rovers to prompt officers to stop the vehicle to make sure the rightful owner is sitting behind the wheel – but officers will also be stopping Defenders which aren’t sporting the stickers.

Sgt Rob Simpson said: "In line with the national picture we are seeing an increase in Defenders being stolen due to their continuing popularity.

“Defenders are the workhorses of farms or are the well-loved part of the family character vehicle, with pet names such as 'Dave' - so when they are stolen it can be devastating for their owners, emotionally and, if used for work, financially.

"That’s why we want to make life as difficult as possible for criminals by stopping Defenders any time and day, even if the vehicle hasn’t got a sticker.

“The stickers are a prompt for officers, and a reminder to residents that if they see suspicious activity they should call police, so that together we can send a message to thieves that it’s just not worth the risk.”

People can pick up a sticker at their local police station and can report suspicious activity by calling 101 or going to www.cheshire.police.uk/tua/tell-us-about.