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.