ESSEX Police is investigating alleged animal cruelty after footage appeared to show pigs being attacked.

Officers are examining the footage and how it was obtained by the animal rights group, Animal Aid, which claims it filmed the abuse at an abbatoir in Little Warley.

The group says it put a camera in at Orchard Farm, which is run by Elmkirk (Cheale Meats) Ltd.

Animal Aid claims the footage shows pigs being burnt with cigarettes and beaten with bats.

Jamie Foster, Elmkirk’s solicitor, said: “Given the source of this material, Elmkirk would not accept that all or any of the activities shown on this video relate to their premises.

“I have been involved in cases previously where such evidence has been ruled to be inadmissible or the prosecution has declined to rely on evidence which has been obtained by burglary or other unlawful means.”

Government department Defra is not investigating the footage because of issues as to how it was obtained.