Police are urging people to be aware of anyone acting suspiciously around charity boxes.

Police in Hertsmere are issuing a warning because a number of collection boxes were stolen two years ago across the area.

Last year, one box was stolen - from a church in Borehamwood - and police want people to be vigilant to ensure thefts remains as low as possible.

PC Shazia Malik said: "Due in part to last year’s publicity, there was only one box stolen last year from a church in Borehamwood.

"You can help us protect people’s donations by making sure that any displayed boxes are tethered and preferably in the line of sight of CCTV cameras. If you see anybody acting suspiciously around charity boxes on display, please alert a staff member or call the police."

Hertfordshire Constabulary has issued the following advice on how to keep charity boxes as secure as possible.

• Secure the charity box by its security cord to a static fixture, such as the till.

• If you have CCTV, place the charity box in a location where it can be seen on the CCTV.

• Display the charity box in a location that is not out of sight. Place it in heavy staff presence, such as the till point.

• Be aware of members of the public looking out of place and loitering around the charity box.

• In the event that a charity box is stolen please report the theft as soon as possible to the police either by calling 101 (non-emergency) or 999, if the theft has just taken place.

• Be aware, of people trying to distract you by either overly talking to you or dropping items such as change – these actions have been successfully used to create a diversion and have caused staff to look away from the charity box on display.