ARMED cops swooped after reports of a “large cat” prowling through a back garden in Hampstead.
Residents were terrified after the cat was spotted close to plush homes on a millionaires’ row in the leafy North London suburb.
A picture taken by a local, as the cat stalked around their garden, showed the beast arched up on all fours as if it was ready to pounce on prey.
Officers were joined by an animal expert as they surrounded the feline but were unable to catch it.
The Metropolitan Police said the cat, which could be a pet hybrid Savannah cat, was not deemed to be a danger to the public and no one attacks had been reported.
Armed officers were later stood down, a spokesman said.
He added: “Police were called at approximately 21:00hrs on Monday, 25 May to reports of a large cat seen in a garden in Winnington Road, N2.
“Officers attended the scene.
“An animal expert also attended and visually assessed the cat; it was concluded the animal was not thought to be dangerous or a threat to the public.
“The cat made off from the garden; enquiries continue to locate it.
“There have been no reports of attacks or injuries to members of public.”
This is not the first time a big cat has sent a ripple of fear through Hampstead.
Last year a panicked mum was forced to save her two young children from a ferocious “supercat” as it stalked them in their garden.
Dr Neetu Nirdosh hurled a toy at the spotted beast as it snapped at the petrified kids.
Mum Neetu, of Hampstead, North London, found son Alexander, four and daughter Falcon, five, frozen in fear as the leopard-spotted beast circled.
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She said: “My heart was jumping out of my chest. As I ran outside I saw it pulling at Falcon’s jumper.
“It was taller than my children and was just circling them like it was working them out. It’s teeth were showing.
“I thought at first it was a cheetah — or something that had escaped from a zoo.”
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