The Metropolitan Police who have been investigating reports of cat mutilations in Croydon and elsewhere, including Uckfield, say they were not carried out by a human.
They say they were likely to be the result of predation of scavenging by wildlife on cats killed in vehicle collisions.
The police have been investigating reports from members of the public about mutilated cats, often found with heads and tails removed, since November 2015.
The worked closely with the RSPCA and the charity South Norwood Animal Rescue League (SNARL) from the outset.
SNARL arranged for 25 post-mortem examinations on cats found mutilated and police deemed six cases suspicious.
While investigating those cases more than 400 additional reports were made to the Met by members of the public or animal charities of cat mutilations across London and surrounding counties.
The investigation took almost three years but no evidence of human involvement was found in any of the reported cases.
The police say in a press release: “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.
“In three instances where CCTV was obtained, footage showed foxes carrying bodies or body-parts of cats.”
The full Metropolitan Police press release can be seen here.
South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty referred Uckfield News to their Facebook page where they say the announcement has come as a surprise and they will be taking advice on how to move forward.
They add: “We consider that the evidence we have gathered over the last three years does indicate human involvement, and there is expert opinion to back this up. Over the last three years, we have discounted over 1,500 incidents as non-human related.
“The police have said that they will continue to investigate incidents where there is clear evidence of human involvement.”
There were two cat mutilation cases in Uckfield which were identified by SNARL as the work of the so-called M25, or Croydon cat killer.
One of the cats was found in Nevill Road, and the other at The Mount.
Follow the links below to Uckfield News stories about those incidents.