Cambridgeshire

Hamerton Zoo evacuated after 'serious incident'

Hamerton Zoo Image copyright Heidi Maury
Image caption Cambridgeshire Police attended the scene along with ambulance crews and an air ambulance

A zoo has been evacuated due to what police have called a "serious incident".

Visitors were led away from Hamerton Zoo Park, near Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, at about 11:15 BST.

A spokeswoman for the attraction denied claims on social media that a tiger had escaped from its enclosure.

A Cambridgeshire Police spokesman said: "We can confirm that no animals have escaped and members of the public are safe."

Image caption A new tiger enclosure opened at the zoo last summer

She continued: "Officers were called at around 11.15am to reports of a serious incident at Hamerton Zoo Park, Steeple Gidding.

"Officers attended the scene along with ambulance crews and Magpas air ambulance service.

"We are unable to provide further information at this time."

Zoo closed

A Magpas spokesman said: "At 11:34am the air ambulance landed in a public place near Sawtry in Cambridgeshire, after the Magpas enhanced medical team were called to a very serious incident.

"An East of England Ambulance Service paramedic crew and two rapid response vehicles were also in attendance, alongside the police."

Image caption The zoo includes enclosures for Malaysian tigers and Bengal tigers

The zoo said it will remained closed for the day and a full statement will be issued later.

Eyewitness Jeff Knott, from Cambridgeshire, said staff had been "a real credit" to the zoo during the evacuation.

The 32-year-old told the Press Association: "We had been in the zoo since about 10.30am and heard/seen nothing until asked to leave about 11.45am.

"Staff were very calm and professional. All visitors around us were leaving in a very calm manner - no running, shouting or anything similar."

Image caption Hamerton Zoo Park has about 500 animals in its care

Hamerton Zoo Park opened in June 1990 and covers some 25 acres.

It includes enclosures for Malaysian tigers, Bengal tigers, cheetahs, wolves, corsac foxes, kangaroos as well as a variety of birds, reptiles and domestic animals.

The zoo opened a new enclosure for its Malaysian tigers in July last year.

In October 2008 a cheetah which escaped from the park was found by a nine-year-old boy in the back garden of his family home.

It was thought to have got out through a faulty electric fence.

Image caption Police have started an investigation
Image caption A handwritten sign informed visitors that the zoo had been closed for the day