• From June 23, 2006

A mischievous moggy in Surbiton caused an estimated £7,000 worth of damage to its owners’ possessions after tearing up furniture, knocking over ornaments and clawing up expensive designer clothes and shoes.

Mani, a 16-month-old tabby cat who lived with owners Matt McLean and Katie Richards in north Surbiton, had been wreaking havoc worthy of an Asbo since the couple got him in May 10 years ago.

His crime spree saw him claw up a £1,500 sofa and a £600 carpet, as well as ruining expensive vases, plants, furniture and glasses.

The neutered tom also defecated in two pairs of Katie’s designer shoes and scratched up a range of Matt’s designer clothing.

Casualties included a £500 Hugo Boss suit, a £120 Paul Smith shirt and some Patrick Cox shoes.

As well as vandalism, Mani had also “trophied” a collection of other cat toys by burgling neighbouring houses through gaining access through their cat-flaps.

Mr McLean, a 28-year-old land manager, said: “It is quite annoying, but you are not going to hurt him for it. It is just one of those things.

“He has calmed down a bit, but we wouldn’t want him to calm down that much. He is quite a character.”

Mr McLean blamed Mani’s behaviour partly on the fact that both he and his partner are out at work during the day, but says they give him plenty of affection when they are home.

He said: “Maybe he is just trying to keep himself busy.”

Insurers Petplan said one-in-five people it surveyed wanted to slap Asbos on neighbours’ pets, with two-in-five claiming their property had been damaged by animals.

It warned owners to take out insurance to make sure they were covered for the damage caused and vets bills for injuries caused by fights.

Meanwhile Sophie McConvey, a trainee veterinary nurse from Medivet in Kings Road, Kingston, suggested Mr McLean and his partner bought a scratching post for Mani laced with catnip.

She also suggested a scent product called Feliway, which mimicked the smell of mother cats and calmed raucous felines, but it was undetectable to humans.

She added: “Cats do need a certain amount of attention and can get stressed.

“If there are other cats in the area they can also get quite territorial and can be quite nasty.

“Stealing things might be a way of saying “I’m the boss”.

  • From June 22, 2006 

A MECHANIC became a have-a-go hero when he saved a man who fell in the Thames. Phillip Ballard, 25, was in The Ram pub when he heard a thud and screaming.

He said: “I heard people say a man had fallen in. I jumped down the 12ft drop. I was up to my shoulders fishing around and then we found him and pulled him out by grabbing one of his legs.” 

  • From June 22, 1991

The parents of brainy Chessington children feared it would soon be impossible for them to get into the borough’s grammar schools after a council ruling.

Kingston Council decided admission to the two Tiffin schools would be based on how far away possible pupils lived, as well as passing the 11-plus exams.

It meant children from Merton and Wandsworth stood a better chance of getting in than Chessington pupils. 

  • From June 22, 1966 

POP singer Tom Jones was injured in a car crash before a recording at a TV studio in New Malden.

The singer, who lived in Shepperton, was driving through Hyde Park corner when his Jaguar skidded into a fence.

He was taken to St George’s Hospital where he received 14 stitches above his left eye. The TV appearance was cancelled, much to the disappointment of his fans waiting outside the studio.