A second kitten has been mauled to death in a West Ewell road sparking fears that rogue foxes are developing a taste for family pets. Seven-month-old George was torn apart in his next door neighbour’s garden in Pam’s Way in West Ewell on November 10 last year.

Last Friday Apricot, also seven months who lived just a few doors away, was killed in a similar way.

Owner, Tracy Medcalf, 36, from Pam’s Way, said: "The last we saw of her was at 7.30pm on Thursday. We did leaflet doors over the weekend and we had a neighbour come up and say he’s found some cat remains in his garden. There wasn’t much left of her."

Days later further remains were found in another garden, the same garden George’s mauled body was found in last year.

With an ever-increasing number of cats going missing in the area Mrs Medcalf believes small family pets are being specifically targeted.

She said: "I’ve lived in this road for about 11 years and I have never seen so many posters of missing cats or heard about cats going missing around this road. It’s getting out of hand. It’s getting a lot more common and it shouldn’t be. I’m a big animal lover, but we have obviously got a fox problem in this road. I’m not someone one who thinks a fox could then attack a child. But it could have been a child who found Apricot."

Alison Mitchelmoore, the owner of George who was killed four months ago, added: "It has taken me a long time to feel like my garden is mine again and it’s taken a good few months for me to think of it as a safe place."

Another resident, Andy Taylor, said: "It is awful to think that I have to go out checking my garden each morning before I let my children out, because if they were to find parts of a beloved animal torn to shreds it would really upset them. I worry every time my cat goes outside now."

Cases of foxes killing pets are very rare but David Moore from Ewell, a vet at the Corner Veterinary Clinic in Sutton believes cubs could be learning the behaviour from their parents. .

He said: "It may be that this is an isolated pocket of foxes but I think it is behaviour that is learned from parents and will be passed on to the future generations. I think the problem is getting worse and I think people are becoming more aware of it. Cats go missing and people just haven’t been aware it was a fox that’s killed it. Foxes are getting bolder and less wary of people."

But Stephen Harris, professor of environmental sciences at Bristol University with over 40 years experience in urban fox research said he had never heard of a fox killing cats and thinks something else, either cars or dogs, is likely to be the cause.

Residents Association Councillor David Mayall for Ewell Court said: "They are wild predatory animals. But for people who have just lost a beloved pets it’s no comfort for them to know that. There is an issue locally and what I’m trying to do is find out the best way to deal with it and who will deal with it."

Mr Moore is compiling information on fox attacks in the area and is urging anyone with information to email him at vet@thecornervet.co.uk Read experts' views on these attacks at epsomguardian.co.uk