Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Police Call Off Search For Essex Lion

Police have called off a search for a lion reportedly on the loose in Essex.

Officers have spent almost 24 hours combing the countryside around Clacton-on-Sea after a group of residents yesterday claimed to have seen the king of the jungle near Earls Hall Drive in St Osyth.

But after search teams found no evidence of the big cat, the force this afternoon decided to stop looking.

Witnesses reported seeing a lioness in fields stalking up and down a hedgerow before it was disturbed by a farmer and ran off.

Armed officers and Colchester Zoo workers armed with tranquiliser guns searched for pawprints after sightings of the animal were reported at 7pm on Sunday.

Police urged residents in the village to remain inside their homes as the search for the big cat continued.

But on Monday an Essex Police spokesman said: "We believe what was seen on Sunday evening was either a large domestic cat or a wildcat.

"Extensive searches have been carried out, areas examined and witnesses spoken to; yet nothing has been found to suggest that a lion was in the area.

"We would like to thank the local community and holidaymakers for their patience and support throughout the past 24 hours as the police and media presence would have been somewhat overwhelming for them."

David and Susan Wright said they photographed the lioness from their back garden after spotting it in the field.

Mrs Wright told Sky News: "It definitely looked like a lion, the head, the body. When it stood up you could see the tail as well and it was massive.


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