Police searching for a lion in Essex say they are taking the hunt seriously.Oh, Gawd help us all...
The police enlisted the help of experts from Colchester Zoo, who believe the sighting to be genuine after viewing a photograph of the creature taken by a resident.Well, that was what they said at first.
But, as the hunt continued and it started to look a bit like they might have been had, the backtracking started in earnest:
Sarah Forsyth, a rhino curator (Ed: Nope. Me neither...) who lives on site at Colchester Zoo and was called to help the police investigate reports of a lion sighting, told the Guardian that pictures of the 'animal' were ambiguous and of poor quality.Really, love? You don't say!
"By the time we got there whatever it was had gone. We were shown some photographs, but they were from very far away, very poor quality and to be honest there was no way of saying 'yes' or 'no'," Forsyth said.That's not what you said earlier. Would it have helped if they'd been looking for some other sort of beast?
Asked if she was sceptical that the animal pictured was a lion, she said: "I think it's unlikely. I think it was more likely to be a dog. It certainly wasn't a male lion. It didn't have a mane."*cough*
Forsyth, who police are keeping on standby for any further sightings (Ed: Yeah. She'll clearly be a big help!), said they found no droppings or footprints to indicate the presence of a big cat. Asked whether she thought the police operation had been necessary, she said: "I think they kind of have to because there was no way of saying that it definitely wasn't a lion."Apart from the fact that no zoos or circuses are missing any lions, you mean?
You can, of course, always trust Twitter to rise to the occasion:
Update: The 'Mail' has the photo - it's so clearly a large domestic ginger cat that serious questions need to be asked about the competence of Essex Police.