Mystery Coningsby rhea returned to owner

Image caption The bird was initially thought to be an ostrich or an emu but was later confirmed as a rhea

A large flightless bird has been returned to its owner after being caught by police and given a lift in a patrol car.

Police cornered the bird on Wednesday after it was spotted in a garden in Coningsby, Lincolnshire.

Two officers grabbed it and took it to a nearby animal park, where it was looked after until its owner was found.

The bird was originally thought to be a rare white emu but was later confirmed as being a female rhea.

Shirley Morrell, owner of Tattershall Farm Park, said: "A lady rang last night after seeing it on the news and said it was a family pet.

"It seems it was let out by someone.

"It was very nice having it for the day and I wouldn't have been devastated had it not been claimed, but I'm glad it found its way home.

"The owner was very pleased."

Image caption Officers said the bird "wasn't best pleased" to see them and resisted capture
Image caption They also had to spend 10 minutes hoovering their patrol car after its journey
Image caption However, the rhea soon calmed down after arriving at the animal centre

PC Tom Harrison, who chased the rhea with PC Gary Young, described finding the bird as a "surreal" moment, adding that "it wasn't best pleased to see us and was even less happy to go into the car".

He said: "I've wrestled many times in the back of a police car but it's the first time it has been with an animal."

Ostriches, rheas and related birds are ratites - an order of flightless birds. The other members are the kiwis, emu, cassowary, as well as various extinct species such as the elephant bird.

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