A PET cat was shot and battered to death just yards from its home.

Owner Kevin Stuart-Wyke, 43, of Dipton, near Stanley, County Durham, spent a week looking for Siamese cat Pippin, who disappeared at the beginning of the month.

He was devastated when he eventually found him buried under rubble near his house on Saturday.

He rushed the cat to the vet but was told it was already dead, having been shot and stamped upon.

It is the latest in a series of tragedies for the cat lover and his wife Mary, 45.

One of their cats went missing on Christmas Eve and another one died two weeks ago from a mystery illness.