CAT owners in the Haverfordwest area are being warned to be on their guard following unconfirmed reports on social media of a cat thief posing as an RSPCA officer.

Reports state that a man wearing a shirt and tie, with two epaulettes with three stars on each shoulder, has been spotted in the Trafalgar Road/Courts area of Haverfordwest.

The man is reported to be driving a larger plain white van. When questioned about his activities, it is understood that he has said that he was going around picking up stray cats.

The warning has been posted by an admin of the Facebook group Pembrokeshire Pets Lost and Found who has not witnessed the man but been told about his activities.

"I feel duty bound to put an alert out just in case this man is indeed stealing cats," she said.

"If you do sight this individual and are sceptical the most important thing is getting a picture of the van and its registration. This can then be relayed to the authorities."

The Facebook post urged a calm approach if the man is seen in the area again.

"If you have a genuine concern then please, ask to see some form of ID that proves they are indeed rescue workers," it reads.

"If they refuse then just snap a picture and leave it at that. They can be ruled out pretty quickly after that."

RSPCA chief inspector Romain de Kerckhove said: "We're extremely concerned by reports that someone may be posing as an RSPCA officer in order to try and take people's cats.

"We would like to remind and reassure the public that our inspectors and rescue officers all carry ID and wear branded navy blue uniforms with the RSPCA logo, as well as white shirts with a black or blue tie and black epaulettes. Most of our officers drive either white vans or fully branded, wrapped RSPCA vans.

Romain added: "Our staff can only access your property if you give them permission and can only see your pets with your approval.

"If you are concerned someone may have posed as an RSPCA officer please report the incident to us - via 0300 1234 999 - and to the local police. And if you believe your pet has been stolen please contact the police as soon as possible.

"We would also urge people to take extra precautions to protect their pets by neutering them, ensuring they're microchipped with up-to-date contact details registered and, where appropriate, ensuring they wear a collar with an ID tag or embroidered contact details."