Fake white tiger sparks armed police response
Police are today trying to trace the owner of a toy life-size tiger which sparked a major operation involving armed officers and a force helicopter.
The alert was raised by several members of the public yesterday afternoon when they spotted what they believed to be a live white tiger in a field near Hedge End, Southampton, Hampshire.
The police helicopter was scrambled and a golf course cleared after police arrived at the scene and confirmed the sighting.
Armed police were called to the scene in case the animal came too close to members of the public.
Specialist staff from nearby Marwell Zoo also attended to advise and potentially tranquilise the wild animal.
A local golf course was evacuated and plans were put in place to close the nearby M27 motorway if necessary in case the tiger moved in that direction.
But as police officers carefully approached the "wild animal" they realised it was not moving and the helicopter crew, using thermal imaging equipment, realised there was no heat source coming from it.
A spokeswoman for the force said: "After a brief stalk through the Hedge End savannah, the officer realised the tiger was not moving and the air support using their cameras realised there was a lack of heat source.
"The tiger then rolled over in the down draft and it was at that point it became obvious it was a stuffed life-size toy.
"This incident will definitely be the highlight of our day. The CCTV footage convinced us all we were dealing with a real tiger.
"It's not often an incident leaves our staff with a smile on their face and it just goes to show the diverse type of incident we are called to deal with."
Releasing a photo of the toy tiger, a force spokeswoman said: "The toy tiger is life-size and is like one that you would win at a fair.
"It is being treated as lost property but we don't know how it came to be in the field and whether it may have been a hoax."
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...
£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...
£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...