Friday, 20 May 2011

'Garden wallaby' caught in Lyme Regis town centre

Off-duty firefighter Virgil Turner said he
grabbed the animal's legs and tail
19 May 2011

A wallaby, thought to be the same animal seen in a woman's Dorset garden earlier in the week, has been caught.

Off-duty firefighter Virgil Turner rugby-tackled the marsupial to the ground in Lyme Regis town centre.

Jan Cooper had filmed a wallaby hopping around her garden in Blue Waters Drive, Lyme Regis, on Tuesday morning, before it escaped over her fence.

Mr Turner said the wallaby, which has been taken to an animal park in Exminster, Devon, "kicked a bit".

The 45-year-old added: "My friend called me and he's a trickster so I thought it was a wind up. But I could hear he was serious.
'Subdued it'

"When I got there the wallaby was cornered by a couple of council workers and a local woman - but it could have got away still.

"It had already had a couple of near misses with cars and I didn't want a serious car accident on my hands.

"I must admit I was wary because I'd heard they can give quite a kick and can be very strong.

"But I used to play a bit of rugby so I just rugby tackled it - I grabbed its legs and tail and we managed to get a blanket over it which subdued it and then get it into a cage.

"I got a few scrapes and scratches from the concrete but the wallaby was fine - it was very calm really.

"It kicked a bit but totally calmed down when the blanket went on."

Eyewitness John King, who praised Mr Turner, said: "The wallaby had already caused a few problems hopping across roads in the town.

"It was bizarre really - not something you see every day in Lyme Regis."

The RSPCA, which had told the public not to approach the animal, was also called to the scene to help.

Mrs Cooper, who filmed the animal at her home on Tuesday, said: "I am just so happy it has been found safe.

"I've been told it has been taken to a sanctuary where there are another 14 wallabies so it should have a good time."

It is unclear where the animal came from but the RSPCA said a number of them live wild in the UK.

A spokeswoman said there had not been any reports of escaped animals in the area.
(Submitted by Liz R)

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