A dangerous and rare cat being kept illegally has been seized during a police bust in Biggin Hill.

A serval cat, a native to Africal=, has been taken in by the council after it was found last month.

There are strict rules in the UK over the keeping of rare and exotic animals, and the cat was found unlicensed by cops and council workers.

The animal is 24 inches at the shoulder and weighs up to 40 lb, a spokesman for the council said.

Councillor Kate Lymer, cabinet member for public protection and enforcement said: “Licensing exists to protect individuals and animals. If an owner meets the criteria we will license prior to them obtaining the wild animal.

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“Keeping an exotic animal is not the same as a domestic pet – they have special diets and needs with natural instincts that must be met, for example.

“Many wild animals, like the serval cat, are seen by some as a status symbol, too.

“Of course there are many legitimate ways of obtaining an animal and anyone considering getting a pet, whether a cat or another animal, might want to go to a rescue centre or animal shelter.”

A serval is a cat native to the African grasslands typically found south of the Sahara Desert.

The serval is a wild animal, and for this reason people require specific licences to own one.

There are many risks with owning this animal, and while they have been known to be affectionate they need space to fulfill their natural instincts.

The Biggin Hill cat, found on March 29, is thought to have been illegally bred or imported.

Bromley Council is now looking to place the animal, which is listed as dangerous in the UK, in a zoo.

Anyone keeping a listed animal without the £636 licence risks prosecution.