POLICE were called to a Farnham town centre car park on Saturday after a member of the public raised concerns about the welfare of a dog locked inside a vehicle.

The Labrador was reportedly left inside a car parked in the hot sun without water, and although police have not confirmed which car park the dog was found in nor how it was rescued, the force did post on Facebook that it was "safely removed" and given a drink by a local resident.

Officers also warned dog owners that inside car temperatures can rise far higher than outside, adding they face prosecution, a fine or even a custodial sentence for leaving a dog unattended in a hot car.

A post on the Waverley Beat (Surrey Police) Facebook page read: "Today local Waverley officers have attended a Farnham car park after receiving a report of a distressed Labrador which was left in a car.

"The car was parked in the sun and no water had been left for the dog. Local officers remove the dog safely from the car and it was given a drink from a local resident.

"Please be aware that when it is 21 degrees outside the inside temperature in your car can rise to 40 degrees within 30 minutes, so please leave your dogs at home and don’t leave them in hot cars, as you could face prosecution from the RSPCA and a fine or even a custodial sentence."

It comes after beachgoers at Frensham Great Pond smashed a window to rescue a distressed French Bulldog left in a hot car for four hours in early August.

The bulldog was left in the car parked when the temperature was 35 degrees celcius and was showing signs of heatstroke when passers-by intervened.

The police and RSPCA were phoned, but no officers from either authority were available so a member of the public smashed the car window with a hammer.

The dog was safely rescued from the vehicle and handed over to the rangers’ office, but a furious exchange followed when the owners of the vehicle arrived to find their car damaged.

Under section 5(2)(a) of the Criminal Damage Act 1971, you have an excuse to commit an unlawful crime on someone’s property if you believe the owner would consent to the damage if they knew the circumstances.

The RSPCA said: "In an emergency, we may not be able to attend quickly enough and with no powers of entry, we’d need police assistance at such an incident.

"Don’t be afraid to dial 999, the police will inform us if animal welfare assistance is required.

"If the situation becomes critical for the dog and the police are too far away or unable to attend, many people’s instinct will be to break into the car to free the dog.

"If you decide to do this, please be aware that without proper justification, this could be classed as criminal damage and, potentially, you may need to defend your actions in court."