Did a Louth man help spark the hunt for a lion in Essex?

Lion on the loose?

Lion on the loose?

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DID a man from Louth help spark off a huge search for a ‘lion’ supposedly spotted on the loose in Essex?

According to many national media reports, Stephen Atkin, a 52-year-old Louth man who was holidaying at Earls Hall Farm caravan site in St Osyth, near Clacton-on-Sea, was one of the people claiming to have seen the beast on Sunday night.

The story then went viral, with national newspapers and websites reporting sightings of a ‘large cat’ in the area around the resort.

Mr Atkin has been quoted as saying that he saw a ‘very large animal, possibly a lion’ in the field near where he was staying.

It sparked a huge police hunt, involving officers, vehicles and helicopters around the area.

A police spokesman said: “We believe what was seen on Sunday evening was either a large domestic cat or a wildcat.”

Essex Police confirmed that specialist firearms officers and experts from Colchester Zoo had been called upon to assist with the search, and the nearby Colchester Zoo maintaned that there were no escapees on the loose.

The pictures seen on television and in newspapers were unfortunately of low quality, but enough for police to warn residents to stay indoors before later advising them to venture out but ‘be cautious’.

Do you know Mr Atkin? Please help us to contact him, call the Leader office on 01507 353200.