Armed police swoop on village after ‘tiger’ is spotted on loose… but turns out to be a sculpture

Armed police and a helicopter were called when shocked residents saw a ‘tiger’ prowling through countryside – but it turned out to be a 20-year-old sculpture made of chicken wire by a local grandmother.

Kent Police sent an armed response unit to reports of the big cat skulking around the village of Ightham, near Sevenoaks in Kent.

But they were left embarrassed when the dangerous beast turned out to simply be a large model made from resin by local sculptor Juliet Simpson, 85.

The grandmother laughed the siege off on Saturday, saying she had been alerted by her son Duncan.

Armed police and a helicopter were called when shocked residents saw a 'tiger' prowling through countryside - but it turned out to be a 20-year-old sculpture made of chicken wire by a local grandmother

Armed police and a helicopter were called when shocked residents saw a 'tiger' prowling through countryside - but it turned out to be a 20-year-old sculpture made of chicken wire by a local grandmother

Armed police and a helicopter were called when shocked residents saw a ‘tiger’ prowling through countryside – but it turned out to be a 20-year-old sculpture made of chicken wire by a local grandmother

She told the Guardian: ‘My son Duncan rang up and said there were armed police on the hill leading up to my house. Ten of them!

‘By then I could see the helicopter above, and I thought “Goodness me.”

‘So then I walked up the road and saw the police Land Rover. I went up and said: “Do you want to be introduced to this tiger?”

The sculpture lies next to a public footpath about 30 metres away from Ms Simpson’s house.

The road it is near leads to the National Trust’s Ightham Mote, a medieval manor house.

Cyclists who encountered police on the scene say they were told to swiftly move on, in case of danger.

Mrs Simpson added that dogs have previously been ‘alarmed’ by the sculpture.   

Kent Police sent an armed response unit to reports of the big cat skulking around the village of Ightham, near Sevenoaks in Kent. But they were left embarrassed when the dangerous beast turned out to simply be a large model made from resin by local sculptor Juliet Simpson, 85

Kent Police sent an armed response unit to reports of the big cat skulking around the village of Ightham, near Sevenoaks in Kent. But they were left embarrassed when the dangerous beast turned out to simply be a large model made from resin by local sculptor Juliet Simpson, 85

Kent Police sent an armed response unit to reports of the big cat skulking around the village of Ightham, near Sevenoaks in Kent. But they were left embarrassed when the dangerous beast turned out to simply be a large model made from resin by local sculptor Juliet Simpson, 85

The police were introduced to the ‘tiger’ and stayed to chat for about 20 minutes, Mrs Simpson said.

The officers liked the model and thought it very lifelike, she added.   

Her granddaughter Martha Simpson joked about the tiger on Twitter, saying: ‘My Granny is a sculptress. 

‘Today 10 armed police and a helicopter were called to her house after walkers reported a tiger in the woods.’

The sculpture lies next to a public footpath about 30 metres away from Ms Simpson's house. Pictured: The grandmother sits next to her sculpture

The sculpture lies next to a public footpath about 30 metres away from Ms Simpson's house. Pictured: The grandmother sits next to her sculpture

The sculpture lies next to a public footpath about 30 metres away from Ms Simpson’s house. Pictured: The grandmother sits next to her sculpture

Above an image of the sculpture, she wrote: ‘This is the tiger.’

Those who saw the tweets joked about them, with one person writing, ‘Should have gone to Specsavers!’

Another said: ‘Maybe the police misheard Tiger Woods.’

A third added: ‘Guessing they didn’t attempt to get close enough to confirm it wasn’t real.’  

She said: 'My son Duncan rang up and said there were armed police on the hill leading up to my house. Ten of them!'

She said: 'My son Duncan rang up and said there were armed police on the hill leading up to my house. Ten of them!'

She said: ‘My son Duncan rang up and said there were armed police on the hill leading up to my house. Ten of them!’

Kent police confirmed they were called to Mote Road in Ightham at 10.23am on Saturday morning after a report from a member of public who had seen a large wild cat.’

A spokeswoman said: ‘Officers, including armed officers, attended as a precaution and, following a search of the area, have established there was no animal and no risk to the public.

‘The national police air service did briefly attend the scene.’

Her granddaughter Martha Simpson joked about the tiger on Twitter, saying: 'My Granny is a sculptress

Her granddaughter Martha Simpson joked about the tiger on Twitter, saying: 'My Granny is a sculptress

Her granddaughter Martha Simpson joked about the tiger on Twitter, saying: ‘My Granny is a sculptress

One person replied to her tweet to say that the same tiger had 'scared the life' out of them

One person replied to her tweet to say that the same tiger had 'scared the life' out of them

One person replied to her tweet to say that the same tiger had ‘scared the life’ out of them 

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