Garfield the cat is something of a celebrity in his local branch of Sainsbury's, which he treats as his second home.

But after some "less than prrrrrfect behaviour" he has been banned from a shop within the supermarket - following a complaint that he scratched a customer.

The 10-year-old moggy, fondly nicknamed Mr Sainsbury, spends much of his time at the chain's Ely branch, in Cambridgeshire.

It has been a favourite hang-out for Garfield since it opened four years ago and the cat regularly poses for pictures with shoppers.

But he has been banned from a Virgin Holidays concession within the store, where he liked to lounge on a sofa, following allegations of bad behaviour made to the chain's head office.

A Virgin Holidays spokesman said: "We can confirm that Mr Sainsbury (aka Garfield) has been asked to leave our Ely store after some less than prrrrrfect behaviour recently.

"As one of the most-loved furry faces in town we hope that he will paws for thought on his actions, however the safety of our human customers has to take priority."

A spokesman for Sainsbury's said that Garfield, who has his own Facebook fan page with around 4,000 followers, was still welcome in its store.

Tina Battaglia, Garfield's owner, praised people on the fan page for their support for Garfield. "The positive comments far outweigh the negative ones," she said.

"Apologies to anyone he has scratched or nipped, but most of you do understand a cat's warning signals (and please don't tickle his tummy even if it looks like an invitation!).

"I'm glad he brings a lot of happiness to people, young and old.

"It's a shame he has been ousted from his comfy sofa but we do understand that the Virgin staff have to abide by the rules.

"I'm sure they miss him too.

"You can still spot him around the car park though, or maybe inside the doors, so keep snapping and posting those pics!"

She added that Garfield saw Sainsbury's as his second home, and was not planning on going anywhere else soon.

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