Essex Police End Search for Lion
Essex Police have ended the search for a lion following an investigation into reports of one being seen in a field near Earl Hall Drive in St Osyth. The spotting was made by a holidaymaker on Sunday around 7pm. After no trace of the cat was found, officers called off the search yesterday.
Bob Martin said he and Denise, his wife, saw a big cat, and a lion was the first thing he connected to the image. He says they believe they saw a big cat looking at a tree and then just sitting there looking at them.
Stephen Atkin, another holidaymaker, was staying at the Earls Hall Farm caravan site when he claims to have seen the animal as well. He told police he definitely saw a very large cat, possibly a lion. It was rolling around the field and cleaning itself for about 20 to 30 minutes.
A spokeswoman for the police said they believe the holidaymakers saw either a wildcat or large domestic cat on Sunday evening. Thorough searches have been conducted, witnesses spoken with and areas examined. About 25 officers, including Colchester Zoo experts and specialist firearms officers, were called to the scene where the witnesses say they saw the animal. Two helicopters were deployed - one with thermal imaging equipment - to detect any trace of a lion.
However, the spokeswoman says they didn’t find anything to indicate a lion was in the area. All the animals at Colchester Zoo were accounted for. The animal report isn’t being treated as a hoax, but they won’t hesitate to arrest anyone if such information comes to light.