Police chiefs admit they don't know how much was spent on Essex Lion hunt (From Clacton and Frinton Gazette)
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Police chiefs admit they don't know how much was spent on Essex Lion hunt
POLICE chiefs admit they don’t know how much money they spent searching for a lion which turned out to be a pet cat.
The Gazette put in a Freedom of Information request asking how much last month’s lion hunt in St Osyth cost the Essex force.
Armed officers and police helicopters were called to Earls Hall Farm on August 26 after holiday-makers claimed to have spotted a lion.
But police later said the animal was probably just a big domestic cat – thought to by nearby resident Ginny Murphy’s ginger Maine Coon called Teddy Bear.
The Freedom of Information request revealed the Essex police helicopter was deployed for two hours – at a cost of about £600 an hour.
The Suffolk police helicopter was also in the air for about four hours.
Essex Police said the operation was not “costed” but that a total of 31 officers were deployed at various times during the incident.
The force said: “The amount of time each officer spent at the scene is not recorded and would require a manual review of each of their duties to establish that.
“Not all these officers were on duty at the same time - there was a rolling presence as shift changeovers occurred.
“Most of the cover was from officers on normal duties with some overtime incurred, but total is not recorded.”
During the incident the police said extensive searches were carried out and witnesses were spoken to. The search lasted for just under 20 hours.