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British police investigate reports of a 'lion' in Essex

Essex is a place near London famous for a reality show featuring British people with spray tans. It is not known for lions.
lion essex UK 2012-8-26Enlarge
Definitely not the lion spotted in Essex. (Tony Karumba /AFP/Getty Images)

So, police in Essex are investigating reports that a lion has been spotted in a field, according to the BBC.

Essex is a place near London famous for a reality show featuring British people with spray tans.

It is not known as a safari destination. Cougars, maybe.

Anyway, Essex police have advised residents to stay indoors after a large cat, believed to be a lion, was spotted in a field in St. Osyth. A police helicopter and armed police are searching the area.

The police are working with experts from Colchester Zoo, who think the reports are genuine (so maybe we shouldn't be making too much fun just yet, in case someone gets eaten).

While we don't mean to be flippant (in case this turns out to be true and someone gets eaten), we are getting a bit of deja vu.

More from GlobalPost: Escaped "white tiger" turns out to be a toy (dum dums)

Remember last year when police in southern England freaked out over reports of an "escaped tiger" hiding in the grass near a golf course in Hampshire?

A helicopter team with thermal imaging cameras was dispatched to track the "tiger" from the air, and the local police force went on major alert.

Officers observing the tiger from the ground initially thought the beast was real — but then realized it wasn’t moving.

"After a brief stalk through the Hedge End savannah, the officer realized the tiger was not moving and the air support using their cameras realized there was a lack of heat source," a police spokeswoman told the Guardian.

The “wild animal” then blew over in the helicopter’s down draft, “and it was at that point it became obvious it was a stuffed life-size toy,” she said.

Oh yeah. That happened.

See also: This incident in Germany in which an escaped leopard also turns out to be a stuffed toy

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/british-police-investigate-reports-lion-essex