POLICE have a organised a special meeting to gather evidence into alleged animal crimes happening across Cudworth and Royston.

The meeting - which will be held tomorrow (January 24) at Cudworth Fire Station at 1pm - is open for residents who have any information about a series of alleged animal attacks taking place in the area.

Furious residents claim that someone is stealing their cats and dogs and using them as bait to train hunting dogs for 'lamping' - where hunters shine bright torches in animal's eyes to startle them.

Sgt Stephanie Smith, from Royston and Cudworth Safer Neighbourhood Team, said the meeting is being held because - although many people are talking about the issue - no real evidence has yet been put forward.

She said: "We are hearing complaints that cats and dogs are being pinched and put in a field and used to train hunting dogs on.

"We've had people ring us up and say there are piles of bodies of cats and dogs left in places but we haven't actually had any firm evidence we can use.

"When we get these reports we offer to go an investigate - but then we are told the bodies have been moved, and no-one knows who has moved them, or exactly where they were.

"People are talking about this issue - but we seem to be getting the information third hand when we actually need it first hand so we can start to gather some proper information about it."

The meeting will be treated as confidential - and media have been asked not to attend so that proper evidence can be collected.

She added: "We don't want it to become a meeting abut this issue in general - we want people who have specific evidence that can help us move forward."

Anyone who can't make the meeting, or who plans to attend and wants to make police aware, should contact the team on 736484.