Armed police were sent to a North-east farm after a farmer mistook a stuffed toy for a tiger.
The dramatic operation was launched at the weekend when the farmer went to his cowshed and discovered what he thought was a big cat.
Firearms officers were immediately dispatched to the area to investigate and made an even more shocking discovery – it was just a stuffed toy.
Today officers described the incident, at a farm in the Hatton area, as “a false call made with genuine good intent”.
Thought you might like to share this call from Saturday night. Police call to attend a farm in the North East of…
The farmer – who has not been named, but was said to be “very embarrassed” by the mix-up – went to his outbuilding on Saturday night and spotted the “tiger”.
The Evening Express understands the toy was “near life-size” and the farmer sent a photograph to the police, however, it proved inconclusive.
Officers also contacted the Highland Wildlife Park near Kingussie – around 100 miles away – to check that its tigers, Dominika and Marty, had not escaped.
Inspector George Cordiner said: “We received a call from an extremely concerned member of the public late on Saturday evening with regards to a wild animal being loose in the grounds of a farm in the Hatton area.
“Unusual as the call may have seemed, any call reporting a potential danger to the public has to be taken seriously and efforts were made to verify the sighting as soon as possible, including making contact with the nearest wildlife park to make sure they did not have an escapee.
“The incident was stood down within 45 minutes once officers attended and established there was no threat to the public.
“We appreciate that it was a false call made with genuine good intent.”
He added: “As is standard practice when we are made aware of a potential threat to the public, the use of firearms officers was considered as a contingency. In this case, firearms officers attended the area in support of the local community officers but they were not deployed nor required.
“Our ultimate aim is to protect the public and keep our officers safe when faced with uncertain situations. Until you know exactly what you are dealing with, every option has to be considered.”