A sick teenager who filmed himself killing two kittens by placing them inside an airtight bag and using a vacuum cleaner to suck out the air was being hunted by internet users across the world today. In horrifying footage posted online, the young thug is seen gently stroking the tiny tabby cats before placing them in the bag. As John Lennon's Merry Christmas (War Is Over) plays in the background, he calmly seals the bag and attaches a vacuum cleaner hose.
In distressing scenes, too graphic to be posted on MailOnline, the cleaner is then switched on and the air is slowly sucked out of the bag.
The mewing kittens can be seen wriggling around and clawing to escape as the polythene tightens around them.
After switching off the cleaner, the sick teen opens the bag and proudly holds up the body of one of the kittens for his camera, before displaying them on his bed. The horrifying footage has prompted outrage across the internet, with hundreds of amateur sleuths attempting to identify the cat killer.
The 'snuff' film - a term for killings filmed for people's gratification - was originally uploaded to the YouTube website, but was later removed.
It appears to have been made solely by the youngster, who is seen smoking a cigarette and wearing a blue hooded jumper in a dingy bedroom.
The footage is reminiscent of a film posted online recently of a girl in Bugojna, Bosnia, who threw puppies into a fast-flowing river. After a web hunt for her she was quizzed by police but never prosecuted.
A Facebook group entitled Find the Kitten Vacuumer has attracted almost 1,000 members.
One member, Aron Bas, wrote: 'I can't bring myself to watch these beautiful and innocent kittens take their last breath. I hope the evil scumbag is found and locked away.'
Others expressed fears that someone capable of killing two helpless animals could go on to kill people.
Speculation among the group's members has suggested the killer is from Latvia or another Eastern European country.
One post said the IP address of the web user who posted the footage on YouTube showed the uploading took place in Hamburg, Germany.
Animal rights groups have vowed to help track down the teenager and PETA - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals - said it was following up a number of leads.
A spokesman said: 'PETA U.S.’s Cruelty Investigations Department is actively following up possible leads to determine the identity and whereabouts of the man in the video.
'Animal abusers are cowards who take their issues out on the most defenceless beings available to them. The pain and fear that these tiny kittens must have experienced is unimaginable.
'Anyone capable of carrying out such a merciless and callous act should concern us all, as research into criminology and psychology shows that people who commit acts of cruelty to animals are likely to pose a danger to the entire community.
'We strongly urge anyone with any information regarding this case to please contact PETA U.S.'s Cruelty Investigations Department.'
An RSPCA spokesman said it would prosecute the person involved if the killings took place in Britain.