Armed police were sent to a farm in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, after a farmer checking his livestock thought he spotted a tiger in his cow shed.
Bruce Grubb, 24, called the police, fearing the predator would attack his pregnant cows, but became suspicious when it failed to move during a 45-minute stand-off.
After driving towards it in his truck he realised he was looking at a large cuddly toy.
By that time several police vehicles, including an armed unit, had responded to the incident at the farm near Peterhead on Saturday. Officers even checked with a local wildlife park in case a tiger was on the loose.
When the truth emerged, Police Scotland said they were regarding it as a “false call made with genuine good intent”. Officers removed the tiger, telling an embarrassed Mr Grubb they wanted to keep it as a mascot.
The young farmer, who was having a housewarming party at the time after moving into a farm cottage three weeks ago, said: “I feel a bit silly for calling the police but I thought it was a real emergency. We’re laughing about it now but it was very scary at the time.”
He told the Scottish Sun that he had no idea who left the toy in the dark cow shed, adding: “I had absolutely no doubt it was real. I got a hell of a scare. I was worried it was going to eat all my cows before police managed to shoot it.”
He added that he had not been drinking at the time, as the cows could have given birth at any time.
“I flashed my torch in the shed and saw it sitting there. I was stone cold sober, drink had nothing to do with me thinking it was real.”
He claimed the first officer on the scene “refused to get out of the squad car” as he thought it was real.
Insp George Cordiner said: “We received a call from an extremely concerned member of the public late on Saturday evening with regards to a wild animal being loose in the grounds of a farm in the Hatton area.
“Unusual as the call may have seemed, any call reporting a potential danger to the public has to be taken seriously and efforts were made to verify the sighting as soon as possible, including starting to make contact with the nearest wildlife park to make sure they did not have an escapee.
“Our ultimate aim is to protect the public and keep our officers safe when faced with uncertain situations. Until you know exactly what you are dealing with, every option has to be considered.
“The incident was stood down within 45 minutes once officers attended and established there was no threat to the public.”
Source: The Telegraph