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PHOTOS: Escaped emu causes chaos in Barnstaple

By e_glanfield  |  Posted: November 30, 2012

  • The emu sitting in the back of the police car

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A loose emu had to be rescued by police officers after it was found casually wandering around Barnstaple.

A member of the public rang the police just before 8am on Wednesday after he saw the flightless bird walking along St Georges Road near Pilton Park.

The escaped 4ft tall animal was located by Acting Police Sergeant Zoe Parnell and PCSO Stephen Huxtable in Riddell Avenue.

Although the bird was slightly distressed they managed to coax it into the rear of the police car.

Sgt. Zoe Parnell said: “I thought it was a wind up at first but when we got down there sure enough the emu was running around.

“Luckily Stephen was with me and he picked him up and put him in my police car. The emu was quite tame really, it wasn’t aggressive or anything like that. He didn’t seem to be too scared of people. He kept trying to go into nearby houses but people kept shutting their doors.

"It’s a bit of a state in the back of the patrol car now - there’s mud, feathers and a few other things...

The 31-year-old described it as one of the most bizarre incidents she had ever been called to.

She said: "It's not every day you get an emu roaming the streets!”

“This is not the sort of thing we get taught during training, so I was a little unsure of how best to deal with it.

“I asked one woman if she would mind taking the bird into her lounge to catch it, and understandably she was a little reluctant to do that.

“I’ve been in the police force for seven years now, and I must say this is one of the most bizarre incidents I have ever been called to.

“I’d only been back in the office for a few minutes and already a few of my colleagues started cracking jokes about me ’feeling peckish’.”

People took to Twitter to share news of the unusual animal sighting.

Dan Ovey wrote: “Standard rea (like an ostrich) in Barnstaple this morning, walking up the road. As you do. #wtf”

And @Stansnan said: “Just laughed my socks off at a photo of an emu found wandering around Barnstaple!”

At this stage it is not known where the large bird escaped from.

The police officers passed the animal over to Diana Lewis of North Devon Animal Ambulance.

It will be checked over by a vet before being taken to the North Devon Animal Ambulance Rehoming Centre.

The emu is native to Australia, and was propelled into popular culture in Britain in the 1970s by entertainer and ventriloquist Rod Hull, whose routine included an aggressive, mute emu puppet.

Did spot the escaped emu? Let us know where you saw him in the comment field below and email your photos to emma.glanfield@northcliffedigital.co.uk or send them to us on Twitter: @ThisisNDevon.

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  • accom  |  November 29 2012, 7:13AM

    Hilarious story! Just a sad ending that it is going off to Diana Lewis.

    |   3
  • Bangtastic  |  November 28 2012, 8:29PM

    Where is resident 101 now banging on about illegal capture of birds and whether the natioanl league for birds or whatever have been informed/approved of the 'capture'.

    |   7
  • unhappysteveo  |  November 28 2012, 4:25PM

    Rehoming? surely someone knows who owns this?!!

    |   7