PET owners are being urged to remain vigilant after a group of young boys were spotted trying to snatch a cat from a resident’s garden.

Bev Wallis, 45, from Great Bentley, issued a warning on social media after her son caught several poachers attempting to take her sister’s Persian puss.

The cruel schoolboys, believed to be local, had even made their way onto Mrs Wallis’ property, in Birch Avenue, before trying to manhandle the family cat.

After being spotted by her son, who shouted at them from his window, the group immediately ran away, but Mrs Wallis believes they will target someone else.

“The problem isn’t going to go away, because these boys are local, so I am now trying to keep my cats inside,” she said.

“I had to warn people, though, as these boys did not know who the cat belonged to, so it was a random thing and there are plenty of cats around the village.

“I am yet to report it because I do not think there is much point, but I wanted to make sure the local people knew.

“If they had of caught the cat, I don’t know what they would have done with it, but it wouldn’t have been anything good.”

Mrs Wallis, who, along with her sister, has a total of seven different cats, is now concerned the incident could be linked to a number of missing cats in the area.

She is therefore determined to ensure local villagers are being told to keep a close eye, when they can, on their beloved felines.

“A cat very similar to my sister’s disappeared from Birch Avenue a few weeks ago, and there were posters around the village,” she added.

“There have been others as well, but I just didn’t think too much about it until now, and there have been a few cats gone missing which have been reported online.”

Anyone who witnesses someone trying to steal a pet should contact the RSPCA by visiting and Essex Police.