RURAL communities are being urged to ‘paint it pink’ to deter thieves as part of a crackdown on battery thefts in the county.

Country Watch officers from Hampshire police have issued advice following a spate of incidents.

A new flyer is advising those working in rural areas to etch their postcode on any high-value batteries and paint them pink.

Batteries such as those used in vehicles and for electric fences can be a popular choice for thieves, who sell them at scrapyards for their lead content.

On Wednesday the Country Watch team wrote to scrap metal merchants to ask them to reject and report any pink batteries offered to them.

Police staff investigator Melody Manning said: “Batteries are often stolen from barns, outhouses, yards and fields, as well as electric fences, temporary traffic lights, vehicles and caravans.

“Battery theft costs owners hundreds of pounds and, in some cases, can lead to livestock escaping.

“We’re urging people to paint their batteries pink to help tackle this costly crime.”