British police call off search for supposed lion
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

London • So, were the locals lying about the lion?

Police said Monday that they've found no evidence to support area residents' claims that they'd spotted a big cat prowling the countryside near the idyllic village of St. Osyth, in the southeastern English county of Essex.

Sunday's reported sightings alarmed many of the village's 4,000 people, and authorities sent about 40 officers, tranquilizer-toting zoo experts, and a pair of heat-seeking helicopters to the area in an effort to find the beast.

But a police spokeswoman said that, after an extensive search, "we've found no evidence" of a lion. The creature spotted Sunday night may have been a large domestic cat or a wildcat, she added.

So does that mean there never was any lion?

The official demurred, noting that the people interviewed by police were convinced they'd spotted a lion. That aside, she said, "we've stopped searching for it."