East Finchley big cat scare: Armed police called to garden

Large cat in HampsteadImage copyright
Lance Forman

Image caption

The animal was spotted in a resident’s garden in East Finchley

An exotic pet cat sparked an armed police response when it was spotted in a back garden.

The large feline, thought to be a rare Savannah breed, caused alarm when it was seen in Winnington Road, East Finchley, north London.

Scotland Yard said firearms officers and an animal expert – to assess the threat posed by the leopard-spotted interloper – were sent to the scene.

After it was deemed safe, the cat ran off. Its owner has yet to be found.

The Met said officers rushed to the neighbourhood – reportedly dubbed “billionaire’s row” on account of the high property prices – at 21:00 BST on Monday.

A resident’s garden was sealed off, the force said, while the animal expert assessed whether the beast was a danger to the public.

Upon viewing the cat, they concluded it was a hybrid, “namely a cross-breed of a domestic cat and a Savannah cat”.

There have been no reports of attacks or injuries to members of the public, according to MPS Barnet.

A Met Police spokesperson said the “matter has been logged for intelligence purposes” and “no offences were disclosed”.

“Police have not been able to trace the cat’s owner at this time,” they added.

In most cases, Savannah cats, which are a cross between a domestic cat and a Serval wild African cat, are legal to own in the UK.

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