A COUPLE have been reunited with their cat after the Daily Echo published a hunt to find two teenage girls who they believed had taken their pet.

Nine-year-old cat Freddie had been roaming Bluebell Road, Southampton, when a 13 and 14-year-old were seen on CCTV taking the cat.

Search for two cat 'kidnappers' launched by couple who haven't seen family pet for days

But after realising their cat was not sitting in his usual spot at their home in Swathling, owners Lorna and Simon Fielker took to social media.

Simon with Freddie

They launched a public search after what was believed to be a "kidnapping" on May 7 - joined and supported by hundreds across the world.

But almost two weeks later, community cat Freddie was found at Dunkirk Road, Southampton, by a woman who had seen the story in the Daily Echo and managed to get Simon's number, who then came to collect him.

Simon said: "Thank you [to the Daily Echo] for raising his profile so much. We might not have got him back without.

"Freddie has been home for 24 hours and is doing a lot of sleeping. We'll never know the full extent of what he went through in the 12 and a half days he was missing but he has lost weight and seems exhausted."

Freddie was found two miles away from his home, after Simon and his wife Lorna figured out where the girls lived, knocked on the door and were told they no longer had him.

The two teenage girls who Simon believed "abducted" his cat have since admitted to police that they picked up the cat "thinking it was alone and scared", but had then let him go.

He added: "We are a bit emotional, to be honest. We are over the moon to have him home. I'm a little anxious about letting him out and we're keeping him in for at least 24 hours.

Freddie the cat

“We owe a massive thanks to Rachael from Dunkirk Road, who found him.

“Freddie either walked the two miles there on his own - unlikely, as he would have had to cross The Avenue and walk all the way across the sports centre - or more likely was dumped over there when the thieves realised how close we were to knocking on their door.

“The biggest thanks of all must go to you. People have good hearts. Thank you.”

A spokeswoman for Hampshire Police said: "Indeed an address was visited and a 14-year-old girl, and a 13-year-old girl, were spoken to by police.

"They admitted having picked up the cat thinking it was alone and scared, but since let it go. They were given advice, however not dealt with criminally."