Police lion hunt ends with village kitty

Image via Huffington Post

Brit campers swore blind they sighted a huge lion prowling free in an Essex village. But it turned out, after a 20-hour high-profile operation followed closely by national media, to be Teddy the cat.

A crack team of 30 police, marksmen, and two police helicopters sped into action after campers claimed to have sighted a lion prowling a neighbouring field. They were flanked by hordes of British media, delighted at this development in the midst of the silly season.

The police were alerted by holiday makers Denise and Bob Martin, who swore they saw something very big indeed sitting down and cleaning itself in a field last Sunday evening, next to their holiday park at Earl’s Hall Farm, Essex.

They called for police who were sceptical and demanded corroboration. Obligingly caravanners Stephen and Gill Atkin went to have a look.

Mr Atkin told the UK paper The Daily Mail: “I went out and had a look through the binoculars. I saw what I’m sure was a very big cat. I thought, “Christ – that’s a lion.” It was big, about the length of two sheep.

“It was 200 yards away but I wasn’t worried as we were nearer to the safety of our caravan than it was to us.”

Residents were warned to stay indoors, and caravanners move to a garden centre nearby.

But search teams found no evidence of a lion and the search has been stepped down.

But local resident Ginny Murphy says the photograph taken is her 28-inch-long pet cat, Teddy Bear. Ms Murphy told BBC News: “From the picture, he’s identical – he’s big, he’s always out in the fields.

“Maine Coons like to hunt, and where he was is a particular area he likes to go.

“He’s always coming back with birds.”




  1. Maine Coons are big, and once I heard one roar like a lion, so I would be a bit more forgiving of these folks. 🙂

    1. Main Coons are very big, it’s true – but the whole country is incredulous, Ralfast…the length of two sheep is a slight overestimation…

  2. Moggies cause so much trouble 🙂

    1. I have a sneaking feeling it’s by design 🙂 Thanks for coming along to read and comment!

  3. What were they smoking? And why did they police take it so seriously that there’s a lion prowling in Essex? I’m not a zoologist, but they’re not indigenous to the South East….

    1. Questions everyone is asking, a&t, between the snorts of mirth. Such a pretty kitty, too.

  4. My first real laugh of the day, and all the way from the UK. Thank you!

    1. You are welcome, Kathy. We should really pass your regards on to Teddy Bear.

  5. Its like the Hounds of the Baskervilles, but for cats. . .

    1. Such a shame our modern Sherlocks took it seriously. And got the helicopters out.

  6. I love this story so much! In Colorado people have Black Bears break into their home… in Essex Maine Coon Cats cause a stir. I adore the UK. Haha

    1. The small stories become big ones sometimes, don’t they? Glad you enjoyed the story as much as we did,Megan!

  7. I did think that was funny hearing it on the news when in Brighton this last weekend. Coming from South Africa I would expect it there but definitely not in England…hahahaha

    1. It is a perfect illustration of the silly season, Lisa!

  8. Indeed, a purrfect story for August!

  9. Incredible on so many counts. Perhaps the worst thing is that it happened last year as well. Do you remember? The armed police, heat seekers, helicopters etc all for what turned out to be a large stuffed toy. A white siberian tiger stuffed toy I think.

    1. We are easily excited during the silly season, I think, Hazel. And the press snap up anything they can get their hands on 😀

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