Hartlepool family distraught after CCTV catches theft of beloved pet cat

A family is desperately appealing for information after CCTV footage caught the moment their beloved pet cat was stolen.

Pepsi, an 12-year-old male cat was snatched from the top of a car in Tulip Close, on the Bishop Cuthbert estate in Hartlepool, in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Pepsi was taken from Tulip Close, Bishop Cuthbert, Hartlepool

Pepsi was taken from Tulip Close, Bishop Cuthbert, Hartlepool

His owners were shocked when they checked their CCTV after Pepsi, who is white with black patches, did not return home as usual and saw a male wearing a tracksuit walk up and snatch him away by the scruff of the neck before quickly walking away.

The fear the man in the video had been out lamping - hunting for rabbits with dogs by torchlight - but had been unsuccessful so took Pepsi instead.

One of his owners, who does not wish to be named, said: "A couple of people have messaged me to say if they don't catch anything sometimes disgusting people will find an animal for their dogs as bait.

"You can see on the video that he is actually searching for something. Our drive is off the main road and there is no access to vehicles so he has been on foot.

"It is absolutely devastating for my mam. Our dad passed away a couple of years ago from cancer and he bought Pepsi for her so he is very sentimental.

"We just want to find him so we know what has happened rather than not knowing."

The family are offering a cash reward for information and have shared the CCTV images on Facebook as part of their appeal.

On Facebook Pepsi's owner added: "He is a huge part of my mams life. We just want to find him, and this vile vile man/boy. He is wearing a distinctive backpack with long leg straps."

Police are also investigating the incident which happened at 3.20am on Sunday, October 29.

Hartlepool Neighbourhood Police Team say Pepsi is likely to have suffered serious injuries and will need urgent vets treatment.

They are asking residents to check gardens, sheds, and hedges to try to find him as soon as possible

The team added: "We would also ask if any residents have private CCTV in the Merlin Way area to please check their cameras and come forward, anonymously if required, to assist in the enquiries to locate Pepsi and the person responsible who will be dealt with."

Anyone with information should contact Cleveland Police by calling 101. The incident reference number is CVP-17-196970.