Animal charities have warned against “extremely irresponsible” breeders selling kittens and puppies on Facebook, as demand increases over lockdown.

Facebook guidelines state animals cannot be sold between private individuals.

But a BBC investigation has revealed puppies and kittens are being advertised through the platform.

Charities warned the animals may be sick, too young or it could be a scam.

The RSPCA called these sellers “extremely irresponsible”.

“We know that there are lots of unscrupulous breeders and sellers out there who exploit social media and classified websites in order to sell puppies and kittens without arousing suspicion,” a spokesperson said.

People should consider adopting from a rescue centre first, or follow its advice on buying dogs and cats – including seeing where the animal was bred, the charity added.

In closed Facebook groups, some pedigree breeds were advertised for over £1,000.

One public post advertised “long-haired doll-face Persian” kittens as “ready to go” and asking interested buyers to get in touch.

Some kittens and puppies were also offered for “worldwide delivery”.

One post, selling ragdoll kittens, specified gloves and a mask must be worn on collection, due to Covid-19 restrictions.

“A £150 deposit (non-refundable) will secure the kitten, updated pics until collection day,” it added.

Facebook said it was investigating examples the BBC had sent, and encouraged users to report any posts they saw.

“We do not allow the sale of animals on Facebook including in private groups, and when we find this type content we take it down,” a spokesperson added.