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Armed police and helicopter called after big cat spotted near Ightham Mote, close to Sevenoaks, found sculpture of tiger

Armed officers and a police helicopter were called after a big cat was spotted – only to be confronted by a life size sculpture of a tiger.

Police were called at 10.20am to Mote Road in Ightham, near Sevenoaks, and searched the area nearby after walkers dialled 999 after encountering the alarming sight.

During their search, which was aided by the the National Police Air Service, they "established there was no animal" but would not elaborate on how they came to that conclusion when approached by KentOnline earlier.

But photos have now surfaced on social media showing exactly what walkers had seen in the woods.

Martha Simpson explained that the tiger spotted relaxing in a clearing had in fact been created by her sculptress grandmother.

Spokesman James Walker earlier said: "Kent Police was called at 10.23am to Mote Road in Ightham following a report from a member of the public that a large wild cat had been seen in the area.

"Officers, including armed officers, attended as a precaution and, following a search of the area, have established there was no animal and no risk to the public."

Armed officers searched land around Ightham Mote, near Sevenoaks, for a big cat Credit: Pepper Films
Armed officers searched land around Ightham Mote, near Sevenoaks, for a big cat Credit: Pepper Films

Mote Road leads to Ightham Mote, a medieval manor house owned by the National Trust.

A cyclist told KentOnline this morning that he was stopped by an officer next to Ightham Mote, who told him to get out of the area as soon as he could and not to leave the roads, because a big cat was on the loose.

A few minutes before being stopped by the officer, the biker saw a helicopter in the sky and heard two gunshots.

Police confirmed that no gunshots were discharged during their search.

Escaped animals, unusual finds and news from the RSPCA can all be found here.

Read more: All the latest news from Sevenoaks

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