DURHAM Police could soon introduce the UK's first constabulary cat following a five-year-old's letter to the chief constable calling for moggies on the beat.

Inspector Richie Allen, of the Dog Support Unit, has confirmed the force is considering incorporating cats into their fight against crime - although their role is yet undecided.

The announcement came after Eliza Adamson-Hopper wrote to chief constable Mike Barton urging him to consider the advantages that cats could have alongside their existing four-legged employees.

Much to her delight, the County Durham youngster soon found a letter in the post from the police chief praising her theory alongside a drawing of his own cat Joey.

The Northern Echo: Mr Barton's letter to Eliza
Mr Barton's letter to Eliza

Mother Cheryl Adamson, 33, said: "She came up with ideas about what the cats could do, like listen for danger, find their way home and climb trees to rescue people.

"We thought it's just too adorable not to send but I did tell her I didn't think we would get a reply.

"I nearly died when he (Mr Barton) wrote back, I couldn't believe it."

The family, from Burnopfield, own a cat and dog, Mittens and Susie, whose friendship inspired Eliza to pitch the idea.

Just weeks after sending her letter and a drawing of a policewoman, dog and cat, Eliza received a response from fellow cat-owner Mr Barton who promised to talk to the inspector in charge of police dogs.

The Northern Echo: Eliza Adamson-Hopper wrote to Durham Constabulary asking why there are no police cats and only dogs. Picture: TOM BANKS
Eliza Adamson-Hopper wrote to Durham Constabulary asking why there are no police cats and only dogs. Picture: TOM BANKS

And although she first received a letter from Insp Allen suggesting that it would not work out due to the natures of cats and dogs, he has since made a U-turn.

“I can confirm the force is looking into recruiting what we believe to be the first UK police cat," he told The Northern Echo. "Their duties and responsibilities have not yet been agreed but if nothing else they will become the force mascot.

"Of course if it smells a rat we’ll expect it to catch it!"

Reacting to the news, proud Ms Adamson said: "I'm surprised but not shocked because it's such a good idea.

"I think they've just considered her arguments and she made some very valid points.

"It will take some careful coordination between the cats and dogs and I'm not sure what role they will have."

Insp Allen sent colouring-in materials and a Paws Up calendar for Eliza, who now hopes to raise funds for the charity which supports retired police dogs.