Tiger in the neighbourhoodwho you are going to call? The paparazzi? But I dont mean the golfing Tiger.

Worried members of the public in Hedge End, a town and civil parish located in Hampshire, England, spotted a tiger sitting bolt upright in a field and immediately called the Hampshire Police – who in turn scrambled a helicopter, marksmen and zoo handlers trained in sedating exotic animals. And a nearby cricket ground and golf course were evacuated as a precautionary measure.

The stuffed toy tiger

The giveaway for the police officers finally came when the chopper failed to pick up any heat on its thermal imaging camera and went in for a closer look.

As it headed lower the strong downdraft toppled the harmless toy beast over and ended the saga – much to Hampshire police’s embarrassment.

Hampshire Police said: “CCTV footage convinced us we were dealing with a real tiger.”

How the toy tiger got to the field was a mystery, until an avid dog walker Kevin Blunden stepped out of the shadows to calm responsibility for the incident.

Blunden, 53, explained that he had found the toy tiger near an abandoned garage while walking his border collie cross Saski. Retrieving it from a pile of rubbish, he dusted it down and took it to the field for his five-year-old pet to play with.

When his pet lost interest in the toy, the stuffed tiger was left in the field, causing panic when it was spotted by local residents.

‘Never in my wildest dreams did I think of the chaos it would cause. I was worried I’d be arrested but I did nothing wrong,’ Blunden said.

‘My mates think it is hilarious and I see the funny side but it was a waste of police time and resources. I can’t believe it took so many officers and a helicopter to come to the same conclusion.’

I can understand how red-faced the Hampshire police must be. Just imagine……police, helicopter, marksmen,zoo handlers and a toy tiger…ha ha ha!