And finally… Criminals build mini mansions for stray cats



Criminals are saving stray cats by ­building mini mansions to keep them safe and warm, the Mirror has reported.

The unusual alliance is part of a probation ­programme, with ­offenders serving out sentences in the community.

Paul Kennedy, who is head of the Community Payback scheme, said:

“Not only does this work protect the animals, it also enables people to learn different skills that can help them turn their lives around.”

The kitty pads are made of a ­polystyrene box, placed inside a plastic storage box.

There are two doors cut into the sides so the cats can come and go from their new homes.

Criminals in Nottingham and Bradford then lay down a bed of straw for the strays to make the miniature houses more comfortable.

“It is possibly the most unusual job we have done – building homes for stray cats,” said Allan Fitzsimmons, placement co-ordinator at West Yorkshire ­Community Rehabilitation Company.

“Cats Protection provided us with the design and materials, including circular saws, and we got cracking on producing the shelters. It’s good to know that such a simple design can make such a big difference and we were very happy to have been able to help.”

The work is part of a Cat Census scheme being carried out by charity Cat’s Protection. It is the first of its kind, tracking and helping strays living on the streets of Britain.

More than 2,000 stray, unloved cats have been found so far wandering the streets in Nottingham, Everton, Bradford and Luton.

But the charity estimates there are nine million homeless cats that need help across the country.

And it says that although cats are adaptable, life on the streets is incredibly tough for them.

It hopes its work with offenders will have a “long-lasting effect”, stopping the number of strays rising.