Tigers aren’t notable for their presence in the Kent countryside. If you go for a walk in the Kent wilderness, then you are more likely to see visitors from another planet than you are to see a Tiger.
But when some ramblers in Underrriver in Kent spotted a motionless ‘Tiger’, they immediately called 999.
They explained to bemused police control room staff that one of these rare and majestic creatures had ended up in their manor.
The police can only take the word of the individual who is giving them information, so they had no choice other than to respond to the incident as if a tiger was roaming around in the undergrowth.
The National Police Air Service and various armed response vehicles were sent to the area to, well, shoot the ‘Tiger’.
But upon arrival, officers quickly established that the ‘Tiger’ was, in fact, a statue.
“I took them down to the sculpture where they all had a good laugh and took a lot of photographs,” artist Juliet Simpson, 85, told BBC Kent.
“Out of the field opposite came a whole crowd of armed police, who by then knew that it was all a false alarm and I said ‘would they like to be introduced to my real live tiger?'” she added.
“It looks quite real, it’s meant to look real, and it is about 30 metres from the footpath so you can’t see it very closely.”
Ms Simpson explained that: “The wire and resin artwork has been in place in woodlands near a public path for over 20 years and is “rather dilapidated”.
“When I put this one in the wood behind my house, he seemed to sort of own the wood, so I never sold him, so he’s just sat there.”
Kent Police said officers were sent to Mote Road in Ightham, near Underriver, “following a report from a member of the public that a large wild cat had been seen in the area”.
“Officers, including armed officers, attended as a precaution and, following a search of the area, have established there was no animal and no risk to the public.”
There are some reports that the ARV officers stayed on-site and helped to colour-in the sculpture. But these reports have not been confirmed….
Image credit: Juliet Simpson
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