Hunt for man who kept crocodile in his bedroom

Police are hunting a man known as "Snake" after he was found guilty in his absence of keeping a crocodile without a licence.

Officers found a menagerie including a 4ft spectacled caiman and 16 live snakes in Lee Thompson's bedroom in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, in January.

The reptiles included cobras, copperheads, pythons and a Madagascar giant hognose, police said.

Essex drug investigation
A caiman was found in Lee Thompson's bedroom (Essex Police/PA)

Thompson, 36, failed to appear at Basildon Magistrates' Court on Friday, where he was 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.

Essex Police have issued an appeal to find the fugitive, who is also known as Lee Snake or Snake.

He has a number of distinctive tattoos including the word "snake" on his neck and an image of one of the reptiles on the right side of his head.

Thompson has a scorpion tattooed on the other side of his neck, an eagle with the word "mum" on his upper left arm, a snake on his left arm, Celtic bands on both arms and a Manchester United badge on his right hand with the names "Olivia" and "Mason" accompanying it.

He is described as 5ft 8in, of medium build, with brown eyes and cropped brown hair.

Thompson is said to have links to Wickford, Laindon, Basildon and Westcliff in Essex, and Manchester.

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