A pet shop owner has complained that animal rights protesters have orchestrated a campaign to drive him out of business.

Phil Porter says he is being evicted from a breeding site he rents as a direct result of bad publicity from the campaign.

The Southern Animal Rights Coalition (Sarc) organises a weekly picket of his shop, Furry Friends, in The Square, Barnham, every Sunday.

The group has also distributed leaflets to every household in Barnham.

Mr Porter said: "I'd be a fool to say it hasn't had some effect on the business.

"They basically want to close me down."

He said some customers are put off by the claims made by the protesters while others do not wish to walk past demonstrators on their way into the shop.

The campaigners say animals kept by the owner at the shop and the Old Fuel Depot, Mr Porter's breeding site, do not live in suitable conditions.

Sarah Davies, 26, of Sarc's headquarters in Dorset, said: "We're still doing a weekly demo, peacefully handing out leaflets to the public, talking to them about who we are and asking people to boycott the shop.

"The aim is not to close the shop down. Ideally we want no animals in the shop and for him to expand the pet care accessories."

Four members of the group were prosecuted after entering the Old Fuel Depot in June last year.

They took video footage and removed more than 80 animals including birds, rabbits and dogs.

Mr Porter said: "The question I would like to ask them is, had they not been caught stealing my property and trespassing on my property, would they have protested outside my shop?

"It has been more of a personal vendetta for being caught out than the reasons they are making out."

Klare Kennett, South East regional spokeswoman for the RSPCA, confirmed the charity had recieved complaints about conditions at the shop, but said a visiting inspector found no problems requiring further action.