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Essex lion hunt: Photo poor quality, says Colchester Zoo

27 August 2012 Last updated at 16:27 BST

Police in Essex investigating reports of a lion spotted in a field have called off their search, saying that they now believe the animal was either a "either a large domestic cat or a wildcat".

It was seen near Earl Hall Drive in St Osyth, near Clacton-on-Sea, by holidaymaker Bob Martin at about 19:00 BST on Sunday.

Before the search ended Anthony Tropeano, Zoological Director at Colchester Zoo, said that a photograph purportedly showing the lion was of "poor quality" but could not be discounted.

He told the BBC that the police had no choice but to "err on the side of caution".