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Croc shock for police on a drugs raid in Essex

Officers working on a drugs investigation had an unexpected surprise when they found a 4ft crocodile and 16 live snakes during a house search in Essex.

A man was arrested earlier this week in connection with an ongoing investigation into a cannabis factory found in an industrial unit in Cranes Farm Road, Basildon, in November 2015.

Following this week's arrest, officers searched a house in Burdett Avenue, Westcliff where they found a caiman crocodile and 16 live snakes. Among them were cobras, copperheads, pythons, a Madagascan giant hognose snake and a scorpion.

A Caiman Crocodile similar to the one found by police in Essex

Detective Inspector Steve Nelson, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said:

We are working together with the RSPCA as part of the investigation into how these wild animals came to be kept in such conditions. As officers we come across many different finds during our investigations and these are among the more unusual.”

– DI Steve Nelson

A 36-year-old man from Basildon was arrested on suspicion of cannabis production, keeping a dangerous animal without a licence, and animal cruelty offences. He was released on bail until February 13, pending further enquiries.