Police in Essex have released the first image of a man who is suspected of attacking a meerkat enclosure in Southend, leading to the animals escaping.

A source told us that the ‘portly, almost operatic individual’ has been caught on CCTV ‘singing wildly’ while aiding and abetting their escape two days ago.

He added, ‘He just seemed very angry and bitter.’

‘While he was carrying out his attack, he kept screaming, ‘Compare this you furry little c*nts.’

‘You all think you’re the otter’s bollocks, but you ain’t got sh*t on Timon.’

All of the meerkats have now been returned safely to their enclosure, and their pack leader Dave told us in spite of reports that they were scared, a few of them were actually ‘well up for a ruck.’

He said, ‘Most of the group just ran off when that bell end tried to get in, but me and my top boys Gary and Reg were ready to f*ck him up proper.’

‘However, as soon as they heard a member of the public mention that Jagerbombs were only £2 a pop in The Last Post, they all made a bee line for the High Street.’

‘If they hadn’t have stopped for a chat with Pennypicker Steve, our keepers wouldn’t have been able to catch up with us. Rookie mistake.’

According to witnesses, nobody called the police at the time of the original meerkat escape because most people out in Southend on a Friday night are used to seeing that kind of thing and worse.

Reveller Michelle Garridge said, ‘Yeah I saw a load of meerkats on the seafront, but two minutes earlier I noticed a pack of stampeding leprechauns riding unicorns into The Kursaal.’

‘Standard Friday really.’