Insight & Analysis

Tiger on loose in… Kent?

Published: May 2020

Armed police and a helicopter were deployed in the village of Underriver in the UK this weekend, after a concerned caller reported seeing a tiger on the loose.

Majestic tiger laying the woods

In the small village of Underriver in Kent, a tiger lay in wait in the woods. But it was no ordinary tiger. Instead, it was a rather realistic sculpture.

Spokesman James Walker yesterday 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.” He continued: “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.”

The artist, 85-year-old Juliet Simpson, created the sculpture 20 years ago using chicken wire and resin. Simpson was working when she received a call from a neighbour, telling her armed officers were walking towards her house.

“I had heard the helicopter overhead earlier. I walked up the lane to the policemen coming across the field and I said ‘do you want to be introduced to the wild tiger?’ By then they had already met a couple of people who had told them,” she said. “It caused us all a great deal of amusement.”

Of the tiger, Simpson explained that it’s meant to look real and is about 30 metres from the footpath so you can’t see it very closely. When working on the piece two decades ago, she observed some tigers in the zoo and watched videos of them in the wild to make it as realistic as possible.

Clearly her efforts paid off!

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