Essex

Westcliff-on-Sea caiman cruelty runaway convict arrested

Lee Thompson Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption An arrest warrant was issued for Lee Thompson, who failed to appear in court on animal cruelty charges

A man who kept a 4ft-long caiman and 16 live snakes in poor conditions has been arrested by police nearly a month after he failed to appear at court.

Lee Thompson, 36, of Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex was convicted in his absence of animal cruelty charges at Basildon Magistrates' Court in August.

Essex Police said he was arrested in Wallingford, Oxfordshire on Tuesday.

Thompson, who kept cobras, copperheads and pythons in his home is due to appear at the same court on Wednesday.

He was previously found guilty of two counts of keeping a dangerous wild animal without a licence, two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and two counts of breaching a disqualification.

Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption A caiman was among several exotic animals found by police at Thompson's home

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