Raccoon seen in North East for first time

Image caption The raccoon was filmed eating nuts after getting them from a bird table

Wildlife workers have filmed what is thought to be the first sighting of a raccoon in the north-east of England.

The North American mammal was filmed during a night-time visit to a garden in County Durham by Wildlife Trust cameras.

During the footage, the raccoon is seen climbing a tree and taking down and opening a bird feeder filled with nuts.

It is believed the mammal either escaped from a zoo or someone's home.

The owners of the house where it was spotted, who are not being identified, are members of the Wildlife Trust, and arranged for two cameras to be set up in their garden.

Cheryl Nicholson, project manager at the Wildlife Trust, said: "Obviously, raccoons are not native to the UK and this is the first one to have been filmed here in the wild.

"We have checked with Natural England, who have confirmed that last year there were three sightings of raccoons in the UK, all of them in southern England."

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites