Police and wildlife experts were called to a garden after reports of an escaped crocodile — and found it was an inflatable toy.
A mother-of-one was horrified to spot the 3ft (1m) green reptile outside her kitchen window in Cundy Close, Plymouth, at 12.20pm.
She asked two neighbours for assistance but called police after they agreed it was too dangerous to approach the creature unarmed.
Officers from Devon and Cornwall Police attended and called a team of wildlife experts from Dartmoor Zoo, who set off with snare poles, nets and riot shields.
The officers threw water over the crocodile from a safe distance and gingerly approached when it did not move. It was then that they realised it was an inflatable toy.
It was removed from the garden and placed in police custody, while the Dartmoor Zoo team were stood down.
“I was making my lunch in the kitchen and looked out into the back garden,” the home owner, who did not wish to be named, said. “It was pouring with rain and I saw what I thought was a crocodile in the garden. I went to my neighbour’s house to ask if they would come and have a look at it.
“They did think it was a baby crocodile and suggested calling the RSPCA or the police, but we decided to call the police as I have a three-year-old and was worried.
“A policeman and a policewoman arrived and at that point we were all a bit suspicious because it hadn’t moved. One of the police officers bravely went out to have a look. They threw water on it and it didn’t move. I’m absolutely mortified.”
A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police confirmed officers attended the incident following the woman’s call at 12.20pm.
“We received a call from a concerned member of the public reporting that an escaped crocodile was in their garden, approximately 3ft in length,” said the force spokesman.
“The caller was concerned for her child and the RSPCA and Dartmoor Zoo were informed and on their way to the zoo.
“Police officers attended and bravely investigated. The beast turned out to be an inflatable toy crocodile. Police have apprehended the crocodile.”
A spokesman for Dartmoor Zoo said experts were regularly called out to deal with escaped pets including lizards and snakes.
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