A man has been banned from owning cats for five years after he admitted seriously injuring a cat which led to it having to be put down the following day.

Christopher Haroun, 25, appeared at Basildon Magistrates Court on Thursday where he admitted the offence.

The court heard between January 2 and January 6, Haroun had been dating a woman from Basildon for six months when one day she came home from work and found her cat Nikita bleeding badly and unable to move her back legs.

After confronting Haroun, who works as a recruitment administrator, she learned he had kicked the female cat, hit her with a broom and thrown objects at her causing her unnecessary suffering.

The owner, who has owned Nikita since she was eight weeks old and will remain anonymous, took her pet to the vet who told her Nikita had a suspected fractured spine and pelvis and that there was nothing they could do.

Nikita, who would have been two years old in March, was put down the next morning.

The woman broke off the relationship immediately.

The victim said she struggled a lot with it as she moved here from Australia to work as a paramedic for the London Ambulance Service and didn’t really know many people at first so adopted Nikita and her sister Nala within a couple of months of moving here.

She told the court Nala is doing a lot better now but she was really badly affected by it.

Magistrates handed him a community order which requires him to participate in a rehabilitation activity for 20 days.

He must also carry out 300 hours of unpaid work within the next 12 months.

Haroun, of Russell Place, London, has been banned from owning a cat, keeping one or being party to owning one for the next five years and may not apply for the order to be terminated for at least two years.

He was also ordered to pay £150 compensation, a victim surcharge of £85 and £85 in costs.

A spokesperson for the RSPCA, said: “It is always heartbreaking to hear of incidents of animal cruelty.

“We would always urge the public to report incidents of animal cruelty to the RSPCA by calling our cruelty line on 0300 1234 999 and/or call the police.”

The RSPCA investigated almost 4,000 complaints about animal cruelty in Essex last year - with ten new animal welfare concerns being looked into by local inspectors every day.

The figures, which make Essex the third cruellest county in the South East, were released as part of the charity’s annual Cruelty Statistics, which shows 141,760 complaints about animal welfare were investigated across the country in 2017.

In Essex, there were 3,947.

Nationally, Essex is in the ‘top ten’, ranking eighth out of the 47 counties which have the most animal cruelty complaints.

The RSPCA receives a call for help approximately every 30 seconds.

If you suspect someone may be guilty of animal abuse, you can visit the RSPCA website to report cruelty at www.rspca.org.uk/utilities/contactus/reportcruelty