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Shepley Big Cat (2011)


The following article by Chris Slack was published in the Daily Mail on 7 November 2011 and was entitles 'Lion on the line: Passengers are locked on train for two hours after sighting of big cat... in YORKSHIRE'

Rail passengers are used to delays caused by the wrong type of snow or falling leaves.

But yesterday the excuse was much wilder: lions on the line.

Services to and from Shepley in West Yorkshire were halted after police received two reports from members of the public of 'a lion and/or a cub' in the area.

They believed the reports were 'genuine' and dispatched officers, backed up by a police helicopter, to the area to conduct a thorough search around 3.30pm.

But nothing was found and train services in the area, near Huddersfield, soon returned to normal after officers gave the all clear.

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said last night that investigations into the incident were continuing.

A spokesman for Network Rail said one train service was delayed for 17 minutes while police carried out the search.

She added: 'There were slight delays to services because of the alleged sightings of a lioness and her cub.'

Inspector Carlton Young, of West Yorkshire Police, said the search would be resumed if there were any more reports.

National Rail Enquiries wrote on its Twitter feed: 'Passengers are currently unable to alight from trains at Shepley due to reports by police of a lion in the area.'

It later issued an update that normal service had been resumed.

In May a police helicopter was scrambled and a golf course cleared after a white tiger was spotted in a field in Hampshire by members of the public - only to turn out to be a stuffed toy.

Police received several calls reporting sightings of the tiger in a field near Hedge End, Southampton.

Specialist staff from nearby Marwell Zoo were called in to advise and potentially tranquillise the wild animal and a local golf course was evacuated.

But as police officers carefully approached the dangerous animal they realised it was not moving and the helicopter crew, using thermal imaging equipment, realised there was no heat source coming from it.


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Ian Topham
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Re: Shepley Big Cat (2011)

The story continues in the Huddersfield Daily Examiner in an article by Neil Atkinson dating from 7 November 2011

Is there a lion on the loose in Shepley? - Have you seen it?

RESIDENTS in Shepley were last night left wondering: Have we a lion loose in the village?

The big cat, thought to be a cub, had been spotted three times in the space of a few hours by three different people.

And their reports were taken deadly seriously by police, who mounted a huge hunt for the cat.

That ended as a cold darkness descended on the village but police confirmed inquiries were continuing.

At one point during yesterday afternoon’s drama, rail passengers were not allowed to get off at Shepley station after one report suggested the lion had been seen on the line.

Police brought in the West Yorkshire force helicopter to join the big search yesterday afternoon.

They confirmed they had three reports of a lioness or lion cub seen in the area yesterday afternoon.

One sighting was in the car park of The Cask & Spindle pub in Abbey Road, a second at Birdsedge about two miles away and a third on the rail line near Shepley station.

Insp Carlton Young, of West Yorkshire Police, said: “We’ve had unconfirmed reports of a lion or a lion cub in the area. We’ve had officers looking around.

“At the moment we’ve had nothing confirmed and we’ve not located anyone who is claiming to have lost an animal.”

Officers believe the woman - who claimed to have seen a lion on Penistone Road, Shepley – was a genuine caller.

Around 12 officers were dispatched to look for the lion along with the police helicopter.



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