Essex Lion Rumors Spark Police Hunt (PHOTOS)

Police in Essex, England have just called off their lion hunt. Authorities spent about 24 hours combing the area after several residents claimed to have seen a large lion on the loose. They found no trace of a lion and the whole thing is believed to be a combination of a misunderstanding and a hoax.

Bob Martin and his wife Denise claimed to have seen a lion on Sunday evening. “Lion was the first thing that came into mind,” Martin said. “But, it was several hundred yards away… it was very impressive.”

There was even a photo allegedly taken by a local resident, which appeared to show a fully-grown lion standing at the side of the road:

Unfortunately (for those of us who are entertained by the idea of police hunting for a lion in an urban setting) and fortunately (for those who live in the area where the lion is purported to be), the photo above turned out to be a fake. This is the lion that was Photoshopped in:

Police believe that the cat the Martins saw was likely a large housecat or perhaps a wildcat. Either way, it doesn’t appear to pose any threat to the local residents.

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