Charges after Essex drugs police find caiman during house search

Caiman Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption The caiman was among several exotic animals found by police

A man has been charged after a 4ft-long spectacled caiman was found by police during a drugs investigation.

The reptile was discovered along with 16 live snakes, among them cobras, copperheads and pythons at a home in Westcliff, Essex, in January.

Lee Thompson, 36, from Basildon, has been charged with drug and animal-related offences including breaching a ban on keeping a dangerous wild animal.

He is due to appear at Basildon Magistrates' Court on 6 April.

Mr Thompson, of Napier Close, has been charged with:

  • Two counts of breaching a ban on keeping a dangerous wild animal
  • Two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal
  • Two counts of keeping a dangerous wild animal other than under the authority of a licence
  • Being concerned in the production of cannabis

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