Police in Sutton, South London, were locked in a stand-off with what they thought was a live snake, before realising that it was no more than a garden ornament.
The animal charity, the RSPCA, called on the police after hearing of reports about a reptile on the loose outside a block of flats to assist them in removing the animal.
Eventually, one local resident informed them that the snake was in fact a garden ornament, much to everyone’s amusement.
A spokesman for the local police joked that ”Officers refused to be rattled when they were called to a report of a snake lurking on a patio garden area to a block of flats.”
“Police were called at 6.36am by the RSPCA who had received a call from a member of the public, who was especially concerned because the snake was spotted near local schools.”
“Officers attended and viewed the reptile from the street about two to three metres away and repositioned themselves to take a photograph of it from above about 1.5 metres away.”
“It seemed to have blended in with the colour of its surroundings – as if for its own protection.”
“One of the officers attending observed, It wasn’t moving but they can stay still for a long time. We didn’t want to move in too close in case we disturbed it.”
“Officers then made enquiries at the flats – only for a resident to reveal it was a garden ornament.”
Julian Hagley, Chief Inspector for Sutton police, said that the RSPCA had told police that it was out of hours for their own inspectors, and that the snake make have scurried off before officers could get to the scene.
He went on to defend the response of the police, saying “It’s the job of the police to protect the public and it only took a few minutes to establish that the snake wasn’t real.”
“For all we know, the consequences of not attending might have resulted in word spreading and understandable concern from local residents.”
I could have told you it was a fake snake because the paint is peeling off it.” said Gary Hollins who lives nearby.