NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Toy tiger sparks armed police alert in Aberdeenshire

Tiger cuddly toy Image copyright Facebook

Armed police were sent to an Aberdeenshire farm after reports of a tiger on the loose - only to discover it was a large cuddly toy.

A nervous farmer had phoned for help after spotting the beast lying down in his cowshed on Saturday night.

Several vehicles, including an armed response team, were despatched to the farm at Hatton, near Peterhead.

Police contacted a wildlife park to check if it had an escapee, before the tiger was found not to be real.

Police Scotland said the false alarm gave officers a "roaring" shift.

Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption The farmer sent police a photograph of the tiger in his cowshed

Insp George Cordiner said: "We received a call from an extremely concerned member of the public late on Saturday evening with regards to a wild animal being loose in the grounds of a farm in the Hatton area.

"Unusual as the call may have seemed, any call reporting a potential danger to the public has to be taken seriously and efforts were made to verify the sighting as soon as possible, including starting to make contact with the nearest wildlife park to make sure they did not have an escapee.

"As is standard practice when we are made aware of a potential threat to the public the use of firearms officers was considered as a contingency

"In this case, they attended the area in support of the local community officers but they were not deployed nor required."

'Genuine good intent'

He added: "Our ultimate aim is to protect the public and keep our officers safe when faced with uncertain situations. Until you know exactly what you are dealing with, every option has to be considered.

"The incident was stood down within 45 minutes once officers attended and established there was no threat to the public.

"We appreciate that it was a false call made with genuine good intent."

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