PET owners in Fife have been urged to be alert after a number of sightings of a fake SSPCA van around the country.

The animal charity has previously warned that the van, which bears similarities with the genuine SSPCA fleet, was operating in Falkirk and Perthshire.

Reports have emerged on social media recently that the van has been spotted in Fife.

The people in the van pose as inspectors to dupe people into giving them their animal before leaving with it.

Chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “We are asking the public to be aware of anyone coming to the door as the Scottish SPCA.

“We believe these bogus inspectors to also be using black vans with white writing which are almost identical to our own vans.

“If someone tells you they are from the RSPCA then please report them immediately as they do not operate at all in Scotland.

“Please be vigilant and keep yourselves and your pets safe.

“While we can legally seize an animal from a property we will only do so if the welfare of the animal is seriously compromised, needs vet treatment or the environment is not safe for the animal to be in. Only Police Scotland and the local authority have the same powers.

“Our inspectors will always be in uniform and will be able to provide identification badges with a photo and authorisation. Our inspectors will also be happy to provide you with vehicle registration.

“If you are at all unsure about someone who comes to your door as the Scottish SPCA then ask them to wait outside and call us immediately. Our inspectors will respect your need to do this.

“If anyone can provide any more information on these incidents then please contact our confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.”