Police responding to reports of a “large apex predator" on the loose in a small town were surprised when they turned out to be “true".
Officers near Steyning, West Sussex, England, arrived to find what looks at first glance like a black-furred big cat on a park bench.
Horsham Police said on Twitter early on Friday morning:
“Reports of a large apex predator in the Steyning area turned out to be true."
“It may be a stuffed toy, but the attending officers didn't necessarily know that at first."
An “apex predator" is an animal considered to be at the top of a food chain – such as a tiger, lion, leopard shark or crocodile.
The local police division – part of Sussex Police – posted a picture of the toy predator in the dark, lit by their vehicle's headlights.
Reports of a large apex predator in the Steyning area turned out to be true. It may be a stuffed toy, but the atte… https://t.co/wMOcyATXTg— Horsham Police (@Horsham Police)1595556551.0
Twitter was equally shocked and amused by the findings.
@Horsham_police Omg 😮 especially at night when things don’t look how they’re supposed to. Glad it was only a stuffed toy 😀— Jo 💙🏳️🌈 (@Jo 💙🏳️🌈)1595572996.0
@Horsham_police Love it. Bet that caused some alarm.— John Malcolmson (@John Malcolmson)1595583466.0
@Horsham_police My god that looks real 😮😮😮😮— June Doye (@June Doye)1595587613.0
@Horsham_police Brilliant... 🤣🤣🤣— in the job (still) 26 down! (@in the job (still) 26 down!)1595572674.0
Reported “sightings" of big cats in Britain that turn out to be stuffed toys are not uncommon.
Last year the RSPCA were called out to a report of a tiger being kept in a cramped cage in Exeter, Devon, but it too turned out to be a soft toy.
RSPCA inspector Marije Zwager said:
“They were persistent this is what they'd seen and I wasn't quite sure what to expect but soon realized that it wasn't a tiger at all, it was just a soft toy."
“He's called Tiddles the Tiger and shares his home with two male neutered rabbits called Horace and Boris, who have a fantastic home filled with all kinds of enrichment and entertainment to keep them happy and healthy."