Police in tense 45 minute standoff with stuffed toy tiger
Any police force needs to be prepared for unusual situations. Even in small towns and villages where the most they have to deal with is the local drunk or someone going 5mph over the speed limit, they need to know the right procedure to follow when the unimaginable happens. Sure, they probably won't have to use it, but you never know what could happen.
Whether they were skeptical or not, officers came out in full force recently when it was reported that a tiger may be on the loose in Hatton, near Peterhead in Scotland. A local farmer, 24-year-old Bruce Grubb, was having a housewarming party in his new cottage when he left his guests to check in on the cows, some of which were pregnant.
"I was on duty because the cows could drop at any time so I wasn't drinking," he told the Scottish Sun. "I flashed my torch in the shed and saw it sitting there. I got the fright of my life".
The dangerous creature he believed he had spotted in his animal shed could have put the lives of his 200 cows in peril, and even potentially his guests. So he called up the North East Police Division, who surrounded the area with an armed response team. They called a local zoo to see if anything had escaped, but without any more information, they ended up in a 45-minute stand-off with a stuffed toy, before they started to suspect it might not be real.
Inspector George Cordiner told the BBC that it was "standard practice" given the potential threat to the public, and the North East Police Division posted a statement about the incident. The Facebook post read that it was true that their "officers had a roaring shift on Saturday night", quoting Cordiner:
"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 starting to make contact with the nearest wildlife park to make sure they did not have an escapee.
"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, they 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.
"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."
When all was said and done, I'm betting they all laughed at themselves and the concerned farmer for a good while. But the mystery remains - what prankster left the stuffed tiger there in the first place?