Two Warley abattoir workers who beat pigs and stubbed out cigarettes on their faces could be facing jail.

Piotr Wasiuta, 29, and Kelly Smith, 40, showed ‘gratuitous cruelty’ towards the animals moments before they were due to be slaughtered.

The pair were caught out when animal welfare group Animal Aid placed hidden cameras in their workplace at the Cheale Meats abattoir.

Members of the animal rights charity Animal Aid wept as covert footage was played at Westminster Magistrates’ Court today (Wednesday) after both admitted animal cruelty charges.

In the video Wasiuta, of Jones Close, Southend, can be seen stubbing his cigarettes onto the forehead and snout of three different pigs, forcing hot ash into one of the animals’ faces as it squirms to get away.

In a separate piece of footage Smith, of Church Road, Hadleigh, an experienced slaughterman of 14 years, could be seen beating the animals with the edge of a ‘slapper’ used to move the pigs around the pens before slaughter.

He can be seen hitting one pig 30 times - forcing the animal to sit down and pant heavily during the tirade of blows.

“The evidence in this case is predominantly from covert footage from cameras placed in the abattoir by a contractor working on behalf of animal aid, a group that campaigns for animal rights,” said prosecutor Duncan Penny.

“The first offences relate to Wasiuta who between 28 and 29 March last year was filmed stubbing lit cigarettes onto the nose and face area of pigs.

“You can see how they react to this in the video.”

In a separate video Smith could be seen striking the animals when they did not move towards the ‘stunning’ area of the slaughterhouse, between 27 and 29 of April 2011.

“This defendant’s position is aggravated by the use of a weapon,” Mr Penny said.

“That response is a violent frustration, bordering on cruelty towards those animals. One animal in particular is seen to be hit 30 times in a 62 second clip.

“This act demonstrated to his colleagues his contempt for the animals he was dealing with.”

Presiding magistrate Jeffrey Manton adjourned sentence until April 25 to allow reports to be prepared, but warned the pair they face jail.

“Having heard the case from the prosecution and witnessed the footage, we feel they were responsible for these unnecessary blows, these gratuitous blows,” he said.

“We will adjourn for reports, but let you know that we are keeping all options open, including immediate custody.”

The pair both admitted three counts of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.