A FAMILY is set to close the exotic animal rescue charity they have run for 23 years after being hit with a £22,000 electricity bill.

The Newby family can no longer afford to run the Dangerous Wild Animal Rescue facility in Little Wakering, which has rescued hundreds of crocodiles, snakes and exotic birds.

Iain Newby drives all over the country with his wife Lisa to save abandoned animals and looks after them in his family home, in Stuart Close, along with their six young children.

The couple have kept the charity, the first of its kind in the country, going with their own money but the cost of heating, lighting, food and petrol has become too much of a burden.

Speaking about his decision to close, an emotional Mr Newby, 47, said: “We have struggled for a long time, but you keep going.

“It has come to the point now when I don’t think we can do it unless an angel comes down from heaven to save us.

“I have got to be realistic.

“I have to think of the animals already here and our family.

“It’s my family home and the children’s.

“I want to be honest and say I can’t do it on my own anymore.

“People think we will be all right, but they don’t know the struggle we are going through.

“My eldest boy is ten now and he has never had a familyholiday.

“It came to this point a couple of years ago, but then you think what happens when the next animal comes through the door.

“I’ve done my best and if it has to end it has to end.

“I’d rather it didn’t.

“I’d do it for another 23 years if I had the funding.”

The whopping electricity bill covers about six months, but the charity needs about £2,000 a week to cover all its costs.

Mr Newby pointed out that £1 a week from half of the 5,000 people who “like” the charity’s Facebook page would easily keep it afloat.

The family, which has already stopped taking on more expensive animals, such as crocodiles, has pledged to continue to care for its remaining stock, which includes pythons, water dragons and tortoises, until homes can be found.

To donate using online money service Paypal search for dwarf donate@gmail.com For more information visit www.dwarf.org.uk or call 01702 219472.