The Croydon Cat Killer does not exist, a near three-year long police investigation has found.

Officers concluded that hundreds of reported cat mutilations are most likely to have been carried out by foxes, rather than a human.

In November 2015, officers began an investigation into reports from members of the public of mutilated cats, often with their heads and tails removed, being found in Croydon and the surrounding area.

The lengthy investigation found no evidence of human involvement in any cases.

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A Met police statement said: “The investigation took almost three years, due to the number of reports and allegations received from the public and the need to work with specialists to scrutinise any evidence.

“No evidence of human involvement was found in any of the reported cases. There were no witnesses, no identifiable patterns and no forensic leads that pointed to human involvement. Witness statements were taken, but no suspect was identified.”

Initial post-mortem examinations found the cause of death in 25 cases to be blunt trauma, mostly likely caused by collisions with vehicles.

Any mutilations were thought to have occurred after death.

Six cases were still deemed suspicious, due to the discovery of mutilations consistent with the use of a sharp implement.

In three cases where CCTV footage was available, footage showed foxes carrying bodies or body parts of cats.

Further post-mortem examinations revealed additional puncture wounds, which led the investigation to conclude the cats had been scavenged by wildlife.

With no suspicious cases remaining, all the reported instances of cat mutilation will be recorded as ‘no crime’.