Tiger sighting report leads armed police on a wild goose chase

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The Kent countryside saw armed police and a helicopter searching for a rogue wild animal. Kent police had received a call about a tiger prowling the woodland area. The search had a comical ending when the owner of the speculated wild animal met with the police and revealed that the animal was actually a sculpture.

Residents of Underriver, Kent were surprised to see a police helicopter as well as armed police officers near Mote Road in Ightham at 10.23, am on Saturday. 85-year-old Juliet Simpson received a call from a neighbour to alert her that police were looking for a wild cat near her property. Her son Duncan Simpson also called her to tell her that armed police were approaching her home.

She could hear the helicopter flying nearby so she decided to meet with the police and end their search. She walked down the road and saw their vehicle. She then went up to the officers and asked them if they wanted to be “introduced” to the tiger.

The officers accompanied Juliet to the woodland where they saw the sculpture made of resin and chicken wire. The life-size tiger sculpture had been sculpted by Juliet 20 years ago for a buyer. However, Juliet had decided to not sell the sculpture. It has been a part of the landscape ever since Juliet installed it there.

The officers spent 10 to 20 minutes there before calling off the search. An officer stated that the Netflix show “The Tiger King” had been on the caller’s mind when they reported the sculpture, the Guardian reported. Even though the chance of there being an escapee tiger in the countryside is low, the police had to address public concern.

Juliet stated that in all the years that the tiger had been there, no passerby had been startled by it. She pointed out that if a wild animal had escaped, it would have been running around scared instead of majestically basking in the sun.

Phil Broad, who manages land near Juliet’s home, was also alarmed when the search party arrived. He called the local police community support officer to ask why the armed officers were there. When he was told that they were looking for a tiger, he told them that there was a sculpture of a tiger in the woods.

The search ended with the police discovering a life-like model instead of a dangerous, scared animal.


Armed officers and police helicopter launched a wild goose chase after reports of a tiger on the prowl in Kent. (representational image)
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