Two tigers have escaped from a big cat sanctuary in the Netherlands and have headed towards an insecure outer fence, say police.

Officers warned residents of the small northern village of Oldeberkoop, 87 miles north-east of Amsterdam, to stay inside until the tigers could be caught and returned to their shelter.

Police spokesman Nathalie Schubart said officers and a vet have the animals in sight and are trying to tranquilise them as the sanctuary’s outer fence is not fully secure.

She said the tigers – named Radjah and Dehli – must be caught because they may escape through the outer fence, “which would be dangerous for the people nearby”.

There were no reports of injuries.

 Police later tweeted that one of the tigers had been hit with a tranquiliser but it had not had the desired effect.

“Still trying to tranquilise the animals,” they added.

Oldeberkoop is home to the Felida centre, which receives big cats from circuses and zoos, treats them, and works to replace some in a larger shelter in South Africa.

According to its¬†website, the centre’s residents include two lions, eight tigers, a black jaguar, and a leopard.

Radjah and Dehli were rescued from a zoo in north Germany whose owner could no longer afford to feed them.

Newspaper De Telegraaf reported that the tigers appeared to have escaped through a gate which had been left open accidentally.