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Fear a serial cat thief is on the loose after pets go missing from Maidstone

Cat owners have been left in fear after several pets disappeared over three weeks and a man was seen scooping one animal into a plastic bag.

Between Thursday, May 30 and Friday, June 14 a total of 10 cats went missing from across the Maidstone area including Loose, Senacre, Mote Park, and Shepway.

Adele Ponton, who lives with her husband and two children in Grant Drive, has had three of her five cats go missing.

Adele Ponton has had three cats go missing
Adele Ponton has had three cats go missing

"It's an absolute nightmare," she said. "It's devastating, we're a bit numb at the moment and not really grasping it. Little things are happening around the house which remind us of the cats.

"I've got kids and they're upset. My son's had to do his exams worrying about it and my two other cats, which are the missing cats' siblings, are depressed."

Prior to the disappearances, a man was seen stuffing a cat into a bag and cycling away off Northumberland Road in Shepway.

He then stamped on the cat as it tried to escape when he was startled by a passer-by who shouted at him to stop. Police were called to the area but no-one was arrested.

The 43-year-old mum-of-two is convinced the incidents are linked and says she is not expecting to see her cats again.

"We're not hopeful that they will turn up or come back to us," she explained. "The guy on the bike stamped on the cat, it seems like he doesn't need them alive."

Matthew Etheridge, one of Mrs Ponton's neighbours and a cat owner himself, has been keeping his three pets indoors at night since the start of the disappearances.

A man was seen trying to steal a cat of Northumbeland Road in Shepway
A man was seen trying to steal a cat of Northumbeland Road in Shepway

"We don't know why it's happening but it could be that someone has a vendetta against cats and killed them," said the 57-year-old. "Some people think that they are being stolen to bait dogs for dog fighting."

A Kent Police spokesman said: "Kent Police has been notified of three separate reports of a cat going missing from an address in Grant Drive, Maidstone. The incidents were reported to have happened on 7, 12 and 14 June and initial enquiries are underway.

"Anyone who has information that may assist is asked to call Kent Police on 01622 604100 quoting reference 46/114604/19. Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers in Kent anonymously on 0800 555111."

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