A 'HEARTBROKEN' family has urgently appealed for help tracing a much-loved family pet who vanished into the undergrowth off the A34.

Tinkerbell the cat, 12, and her family from Devon were passing through Oxfordshire on the way to a wedding in Northamptonshire.

The family are due to move soon and had planned to give Tinkerbell away to the couple and their young twins as a wedding present.

Owner Glenda Hudnott, 52, paused at the Family Farm service station in Weston-on-the-Green, near Bicester, at about 3pm on Friday.

She said: "We were about an hour early so I thought I would see if she wanted to get out to go to the toilet.

"I got out of the car; she had a little collar on with a bit of elastic. There was a lady walking a dog through the woodland area next to Family Farm. Tinkerbell pulled away from the collar and ran."

Glenda and husband Colin, 66, spent about three hours walking up and down the roadside and woodland area to find her, but to no avail.

Mrs Hudnott, a retired kitchen designer, added: "It's really distressing. We had to go and break the news to the twins, who are 13 years old.

"I'm worried about her being out at night and not being fed. You've got the A34 all around and she wouldn't attempt to cross that road; she's not used to roads anyway because we live in a cul-de-sac backing onto farmland."

Because Tinkerbell was about to be given away she is not wearing a collar, but Mrs Hudnott added: "She is a lovely cat and doesn't bite. She's very small. You'd look at her and think she was a kitten. 

"If you see her literally just call her name and she'll come up to you. If you've got food she will come up, because she's probably very hungry."

The Little Chef at the service station has also put up posters and has said it will take care of Tinkerbell if she is found until the family can come to pick her up.

If you think you can help email hsomerville@nqo.com