This is the mountain of rubbish, food and junk that greeted police and the RSPCA when they entered the home of an extreme hoarder.
Hundreds of tins of the same food were stacked from floor to ceiling in the hallway.
Elsewhere piles of yellowing newspapers and dozens of VHS tapes filled every available space and plastic bags of rubbish and boxes covered the floor.
The stairs were blocked by yet more items apparently bought in bulk by the obsessive shopper.
Four cats were living amid the squalor – and desperately struggling to survive despite all the food around them.
They had been abandoned by the death of the hoarder who had no family and lived alone.
Neighbours in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex alerted the RSPCA and police amid concerns for the animals’ welfare.
PSCO Dan Brown struggled to open the front door with the weight of rubbish behind it and entered with RSPCA inspectors Sarah Elmy and Caroline Richardson.
They found stacks of tomato Ketchup, piles of unopened tins and pot noodles and crushed boxes of ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter’.
In another room there were piles of old newspapers that had turned yellow, dozens of VHS video tapes, bottle of Robinsons squash and plastic bags filled with rubbish.
The officers looked for the cats without success – but found signs that they had desperately tried to open some of the food tins.
The animals had been forced by drinking dirty water from the kitchen sink.
It took a week of repeated visits before the team rescued the cats, setting humane traps to entice them out of the squalor.
PCSO Brown said: “Entering the property, it became clear as to why the cats were originally undetected.
“Sadly, the dead man had an extreme hoarding habit, with newspapers and boxes of canned goods reaching up to the ceiling, including boxes of unopened cat food.
“This made the home difficult and dangerous to move around in.”
He added: “The situation at the house was very sad, and of course it was imperative that we got the cats out of the house as soon as possible.
“They were desperate for food and had resorted to drinking dirty water from a kitchen sink.
“I’m pleased that I was able to assist the RSPCA inspectors in getting the cats out of the property and hopefully giving them a chance to be rehomed with local families.”
Three of the cats, since renamed Peter, Piglet and Tigger, are doing well at Southridge RSPCA Animal Shelter and are waiting for new homes.
The nervous fourth cat, now called Sir Scat Cat, is waiting for a home at Danaher RSPCA Animal Home.
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