A POPULAR Hampshire animal shelter has closed to the public amid turmoil at the charity that runs it.

Two members of staff at St Francis Animal Welfare were yesterday suspended and security staff brought in to guard the Fair Oak site around the clock.

The dramatic move comes just a month after stormy scenes when about 50 apparently paid-up members were refused entry to the charity's annual meeting.

The Charity Commission launched an investigation after being flooded with complaints about the running of the charity, which this year celebrates its 55th anniversary.

The Daily Echo understands that two of the four full-time staff at the shelter were yesterday suspended on full pay.

One of those is the shelter's live-in manager of nearly 30 years, Ann Hillman, pictured.

Last night all the locks were being changed at the shelter, which has been closed to the public with immediate effect for at least a week.

Only people with pre-arranged appointments will be allowed in to visit animals.