WORRIED neighbours were prepared to break into a Blackburn house over concerns about the welfare of a group of cats.

Residents living near St Ives Road, in the Intack area of the town, called the RSPCA after they reported seeing the animals roaming around the empty terraced house in ‘filthy’ conditions.

But the son of the cats’ owner, who asked not to be named, said there were only around seven cats in the house, and that although the conditions were not ideal, the animals were healthy and were given food every day.

Richard Palmer, 19, lives in Arran Avenue in Shadsworth, but went round to the property after a friend living in St Ives Road told him about the cats.

The mechanic said: “I was going to break in. I would have got a criminal record, but I am not bothered.

“The animlas were living in squalor.”

Christopher Glasson, whose mother lives next door to the house, said: “The smell is like something from another planet, it doesn’t bear thinking about.

“It is not fair on the animals, they are not meant to be on their own, they would be better off in the wild.”

But the son of the cats’ owner denied the animals were mistreated and said the family had been trying to find new homes for them for a while.

He said: “They are healthy, they have got shelter and they get fed.

“We are doing the cats a service. We could have put them all to sleep but we don’t believe in that.

“We do care for them, that is why we have given them a free house to roam around in.”

An inspector from the RSPCA went to the house to make sure there were no more animals living there.

Leanne Plumtree, spokeswoman for the animal protection charity, said: "The RSPCA visited this property and inspected the conditions and the six cats that have been living there.

"The inspector has no concerns about these cats, which are all fit and healthy.

"The conditions at the house weren't ideal, but they have now been moved to the owner's family home where they will stay until new homes can be found for them.

"The owner has been trying to find homes for the cats and has contacted the RSPCA and other cat rescues for help but everyone is full to bursting.

“The inspector has offered his services to assist if he can."