DOG walkers are being urged to be vigilant after reports that sandwiches laced with rat poison had been left in a popular beauty spot in Wirral.

Animal welfare officers have been made aware of the rumours - which have sparked concern from dog walkers in the area - and have warned owners to keep a close eye on their pets.

The toxic sandwiches and bread rolls are said to have been left around a number of popular walking spots, particularly on the Wirral Way between Heswall and Neston.

Although unconfirmed at this stage, both the RSPCA and local vets have warned people to be vigilant and get their pets checked out if they show signs of being unwell.

One woman told the Globe her five-month-old Labrador puppy has been affected and only survived through her fast reaction.

In 2012, one dog is believed to have died after ingesting a similar substance as it was walked on Wirral Way.

Churchview Vets in Heswall said they had received a number of calls this week in relation to the rumours but had not seen any “concrete” cases as of yet.

“We have had one dog who we made sick because he was showing signs that he had ingested something but we have had no concrete cases or evidence that it was rat poisoning,” said one member of the Churchview Vets team.

“We don’t know for definite but we would ask dog owners to be careful if their dogs are scavenging on the floor and if they show any signs of being unwell, go straight to the vets.”

Today, Wirral RSPCA Inspector Anthony Joynes described the act as “indiscriminate” and “cruel”.

He said he too had heard rumours about the suspected poisonings but nothing had been confirmed.

“People should be vigilant if this sort of activity is suspected, keep your dog on a lead and under close control in this area so that you can observe them at all times.

“This sort of behaviour is highly illegal with the consequences being as much as six months imprisonment and a £20,000 fine if caught.

“This sort of offence we would take very seriously indeed.

“It is completely indiscriminate, cruel and not acceptable.”

Insp Joynes added: “It is important to bear in mind that there are thousands  of natural poisons out there and that is why it is important to keep a close eye on your dog at all times when out and about.

“If your dog has ingested a poison or toxin, natural or not, it will be likely to show symptoms very quickly and should be presented to a vet immediately for treatment.

“People should get any signs of ill health or any behaviour changes checked out by a vet.”