Lion-hunt under way in Britain, residents advised to stay indoors


Not a beast you'd like to meet on the street: British citizens in Essex are told to stay indoors following reports of a lion sighting late Sunday night. Here, an African lion is seen in his new dwelling at Managua's Zoo on July 13, 2012.


Nicolas Garcia

British citizens eager to enjoy their Bank Holiday Monday outdoors are out of luck in Essex, with a lion believed on the loose in the area, reported The Guardian

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The animal was reportedly photographed by a British citizen at a local farm in St. Osyth, a small Essex town, and local officials said the picture appears to be the real deal, according to BBC News

St. Osyth resident Che Kevlin told BBC he heard a "loud roar" around 10 pm local time last night. 

The alert has prompted the arrival of 30 police officers and two police helicopters, according to The Guardian

Search teams operating overnight have been unable to locate the cat, however, said The Daily Record.

Police said no lions were missing from the nearby Colchester Zoo, but the Guardian noted that "at least one circus may have been touring the area recently."

BBC pursued the lead but a police spokesperson told reporters authorities "have spoken to the circus and confirmed that they do not have an animal missing, nor do they have any lions."

So where is the lion, and where did he come from? The hunt is on.

Meanwhile, local residents have been told to stay safely inside until the mystery's been solved.