www.telegraph.co.uk 22nd May 2011
Police are looking for the owner of a life-size toy white-tiger after it sparked an armed response from police and an evacuation of the local area. Locals to Hedge End, Southampton, Hampshire called the police after spotting the toy in a field. One reported that it moved. A police helicopter was promptly dispatched and confirmed the sighting leading to the deployment of armed officers and the evacuation of a nearby golf course. Plans were even made to close the M27 motorway in case the tiger tried to escape that way. Experts were also on hand from Marwell Zoo to advise how best to tranquillise the animal. However, after thermal imaging failed to pick up a heat source for the tiger, and after officers on the ground saw it wasn’t moving, the penny dropped. The stuffed toy then fell over in the downdraft of the helicopter’s rotor blades. The police seemed amused by the charade with a spokeswoman saying, ”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.” The incident is now being dealt with as ‘lost-property’.