THE RSPCA and council officers are investigating complaints about the state of a flat crammed full of animals.

Concerns have been raised about the state of the home in Electric Avenue, Westcliff, although neighbours claim the man living there is just a big animal lover.

Rabbits are said to roam the living room while birds flutter in the backgarden of the property, which is surrounded by junk.

The flat is occupied by Paul Blaxland, but he didn’t answer the door when the Echo called at the flat yesterday.

An RSPCA spokesman said: “There have been some concerns raised to us about animals living at this property, which we are looking into.

“We can give no further details, but can assure you we will fully look into any complaints made to us, and do all we can to resolve any welfare issues we find.”

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Carl Robinson, Southend Council regulatory services group manager, said: “Our officers investigated following complaints made about environmental health-related issues at this property.

“After several unsuccessful attempts to gain access to the premises, we wrote to the occupier advising them that improvements were needed.

“Since our investigations we have had no further complaints, but if there is an ongoing issue there we are happy to continue working to try to rectify it.”

One female neighbour, who would not be named, said: “People have seen three rabbits run into the hallway when he opens the door and there is straw all over the floor inside.

“I don’t think he would be cruel and people have seen him out in the garden feeding the birds, but the garden and the avery looks such as mess that it can’t be good for them.

“There are a lot of flies and cockroaches around here because of this.”

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A man living nearby added: “The RSPCA turned up the other day and put a letter through the door.

“The next day I saw him leave in his car with a rabbit. He is quite a nice chap, though, and does look after them.”

Another man added: “I have seen a rabbit run out into the alley next to the flat.”

Adam Swainsbury, of Lake Drive, Thundersley, who owns the freehold of the entire building, said: “Because he has the lease there is little I can do, but it could be a maintenance issue.

“It is not satisfactory and I have contacted environmental health, who I believe are doing something.”