A mischievous moggy sparked fears of a serious cat-astrophe after pawing 999.

Police response teams rushed to the home after receiving the miaow for help from Bengal cat Watson.

Operators had tried to return the silent call but the phone had been knocked off the hook.

Officers were immediately dispatched to deal with the puss-ibility of a full-scale emergency at the house in Willowhayne Crescent, East Preston.

Worried police even feared that a cat burglar may have struck after spotting a broken vase in the kitchen window and did not paws for thought before smashing down a door.

But once inside all the officers could find was the four-legged prowler.

Owner Lauren O'Shea, 23, said: “Watson's pretty clever.

“He can open doors and turn on lights, but he's never done anything quite like this before.

“The police tried the neighbours, but because we haven't lived here that long they didn't know about what he gets up to.

“Then they tried ringing the house phone, but Watson had knocked the receiver off.

“They looked in the kitchen window and saw a broken vase.

“Then they went in and saw the cat next to the phone.

“A friend was working at the building site opposite and called us.

“I rang the police. I was really worried about what could be wrong.

“When I got there Watson was hiding. I think he knew what he's done.

“I have to unplug the phone now.

“Then when I need to use it I have to plug it back in.”

Watson's brush with the law is not the first time he's tried to make calls.

Animal nursing assistant Lauren said: “I think he phoned Africa before too, “My boyfriend was there and I think he pressed the redial button.

“Now we have to be really careful to make sure the phone is unplugged or he could cost us a lot of money.

“You can hardly use the phone in front of him without him trying to jump all over the buttons.”

Lauren, her brother Roland and boyfriend Chris Healey, who all live together, could now need to start a kitty for any calls Watson tries to make to premium rate cat-lines.

A spokeswoman for Sussex Police said: “Police received a silent 999 call at 9.29am on March 5 which was traced to an address in East Preston.

“The operator attempted to call the number back on several occasions but it was continually engaged; as a result, a welfare check was carried out at the address.

“When officers arrived they looked through the window and saw a broken lamp on the floor. Coupled with the abandoned 999 call and the fact that the line was still engaged, they entered the property.

“No-one was present and the phone was found off the hook. The occupier was subsequently traced and the assumption was that the cat had knocked the phone onto the floor.”