A sculptor speaks after a tiger-sized model thought to be a big cat, which leads to armed police and helicopter searches.
About 10 officers searched Dangerous animals roam the countryside near Ightham Mote, Sevenoaks, yesterday instead of finding a local landmark made more than 20 years ago, sitting in the woods behind Juliet Sampson’s house.
The 85-year-old man was working when he received a call from a neighbor, telling the armed officer was walking towards his home, in the village Underriver.
“I’ve heard helicopters overhead before. I walked down the road to the police who came across the field and I said ‘do you want to be introduced to wild tigers?’ At that time they had met with several people who had told them.
“That kept us all very entertained.”
The grandmother created a model more than two decades ago from resin and chicken wire.
“When I put it on wood it kind of had an area so I didn’t sell it. It has become a local landmark.
“It’s pretty bad now, it’s been broken and I have to patch it up,” he said.
This model is about 30 meters from a public footpath and for many years dogs were sometimes frightened by it, but this was the first time he was thought to be a living, breathing animal.
Ms. Simpson can’t remember how long it took to finish it, but she went to the zoo to observe tigers and watch their videos in the wild, so the piece was as realistic as possible.
He is currently working on works based around the famous Shakespeare line “All the world a stage”.
“I’m lucky, age is only a number, I’m still very fit,” he said.
A cyclist told me KentOnline yesterday that he was stopped by an officer next to the historic landmark Ightham Mote.
He was told to get out of the area as quickly as possible and not leave the road, because a large cat was roaming.
A spokesman for James Walker said yesterday: “Kent police were summoned at 10:23 am to Mote Road in Ightham following a report from a community member that a large stray cat was seen in the area.
“The officers, including armed officers, were present as a precautionary measure and, after a search in the area, have determined that there are no animals and no risk to the public.”
Their search was briefly assisted by the National Air Service of the National Police.
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