Armed police were called into action after receiving a distressed call from a terrified farmer reporting a tiger on the loose.
After entering a stand-off for 45 minutes they found it was nothing but a large cuddly toy.
Frightened farmer Bruce Grubb, 24, dialled 999 after spotting what he thought was a huge big cat in his cowshed on Saturday evening.
Police sent an armed response team and several vehicles to the scene in Hatton, Aberdeenshire, as well as contacting a local zoo to see if a tiger had escaped.
Officers soon found that the creature was just a soft toy, leaving Mr Grubb ‘very embarrassed’, naturally.
Mr Grubb had only very recently moved into the cottage on the farm and was celebrating with his friends at a housewarming on Saturday night.
The farmer went to check on his 200 pregnant cows outside, but then sprinted back into the cottage after spotting the toy.
Grubb told the Scottish Sun:
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.
The local police force later confirmed it was a ‘false call made with genuine good intent’.
Peterhead Inspector 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.
Photographs of the tiger were ‘sent to the control room and an expert Sergeant confirmed it was definitely real’ before reports of its ears twitching came in.
Other police officers laughed after the story was posted on the UK Cop Humour Facebook page.
Inspector George Cordiner continued:
As is standard practice when we are made aware of a potential threat to the public the use of firearms officers was considered as a contingency.
In this case, they attended the area in support of the local community officers but they were not deployed nor required.
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.
We appreciate that it was a false call made with genuine good intent.
Farmer Bruce has no idea who planted the stuffed toy in his barn, but the prank couldn’t have gone better.
I bet Bruce walked back with his tail between his legs.
That could have been a real cat-astrophe.