THE number of pit bull-type dogs being abandoned in the Cotswolds is on the increase say council bosses.

Cotswold District Council said there had been a rise in strays found in areas, including Fairford and Poulton, and it is now asking for help from the public to reverse this trend by keeping alert.

Five dogs, including Staffordshire bull terriers, had so far been found in August, CDC said. Normally only one or two strays are found each month.

Hilary Beach, CDC’s environmental quality manager said there was a marked increase in villages such as Southrop, Eastleach and Kempsford and she said there had been 15 cases of abandoned dogs in just five months since march "The dogs have been mostly Staffordshire bull terriers and Staffordshire cross breeds.

"We are seeing a spike of activity over weekends."

Hilary said under the Dangerous Dogs Acts 1991, pit bull dogs cannot be kept and have to be destroyed.

The RSPCA hit out earlier this month after a thoughtless dog owner abandoned three Staffordshire bull terriers in a field near Meysey Hampton. A member of the public reported seeing the dogs being released from a dark 4x4 vehicle in the Cotswold village.

Cllr Carole Topple, cabinet member for crime and disorder, said people should "observe from afar" and report anything suspicious ‘The public can help put a stop to the worrying increase of dogs being discarded in the Cotswolds,"s he said.

"Keep a look out for suspicious activities at road sides and in the countryside, especially if unmarked vehicles appear to be driving slowly or stopping for no apparent reason."

She urged people to call 01285 623000 or 0845 090 1234.