Police are on the hunt for a "serial cat killer" following the deaths of 49 cats in an Essex town.

Pet owners in Dovercourt fear that the same individual responsible for the deaths of 35 cats in 2012 could be on another spree.

In autumn last year, vets confirmed that a number of felines died from kidney damage after ingesting anti-freeze believed to have been put in their food.

Although the deaths were investigated, no one was arrested or charged with the deaths.

But owners are once more being urged not to let their animals out of the house following another spate of deaths which has taken the lives of 13 cats in just two months.

"There is a very sick individual out there and no pet is safe until the person responsible is caught," said Glen Blunden, a pet owner who lost three cats in the last spate of cat killings.

"It is causing great distress and sadness amongst cat owners in the town and it is vital that whoever is behind this is stopped as soon as possible.

"Someone seems to have a sick grudge against cats-but nothing any cat did ever did would justify such a cruel and deadly campaign against them."

RSPCA inspector Sarah Elmly previously said: "This is extremely worrying. We don't know if it is being done deliberately or not, but if it is then an offence is being committed and those responsible could face prosecution."