Lewisham and Bromley are two of London boroughs worst affected by dog theft, new research has revealed.

A Freedom of Information request by money.co.uk has revealed Lewisham and Bromley are behind just Croydon when ranked by the number of thefts since 2016.

In Lewisham there have been a total of 67, while in Bromley figure is slightly lower at 64.

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In 2020 alone, there were 21 dog thefts in Bromley, making it the worst affected borough last year.

Lewisham was the worst affected in 2016 with 16, however in 2021 just 10 thefts were reported.

In the last five years there were a total of 1,409 dog thefts in London, with Croydon reporting the most with a total of 71.

Calls for greater prosecution for dog theft have been growing in the UK, with campaigners arguing penalties for the crime do not match the devastating impact it can have on families.

DogLost, a UK charity that helps victims of dog theft, recorded a 170% increase in the crime, from 172 dogs reported stolen in 2019 to 465 dogs in 2020.

News Shopper reported in September that nearly 50 stolen dogs were seized from a St Mary Cray traveller site following a police raid.

Police chiefs warned that organised criminals have turned to dog theft as a rise in demand for puppies during lockdown meant increased profits from the illicit trade.

In March, Home Secretary Priti Patel pledged to “go after” pet thieves, while one police force, Nottinghamshire, appointed a specialist officer to focus on the crime.