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article imageArea cleared as alarm raised over rubber snake

By Lynn Curwin     Oct 20, 2010 in World
Southend-on-sea - An area was cleared and a wild animal expert was on the way before officials realized that the cobra they had spotted was made of rubber.
Two police community support officers saw what they thought was a poisonous cobra curled around the handlebars of one of their bikes on 17 October.
They cleared the area around the Thorpe Bay Yacht Club, near Southend-on-Sea, and called for back up.
Iain Newby, the owner of Dangerous Wild Animal Rescue Facility in Great Wakering, was contacted and on his way to the site when police called him to let him know the snake was not real.
“I grabbed all the kit I would need to protect myself from a venomous snake, including a snake hook and my snake stick, which I need to grab snakes to stop them biting,” The Southend Standard quoted him as saying.
“I spotted the officers beside the yacht club boat yard when they said it was a rubber model.”
Newby said he is often contacted by emergency services and local authorities, but found this incident one of the funniest in which he had ever been involved.
He laughed and asked if he could keep the snake, but also praised the PCSOs for their actions.
“More and more people are keeping things like this as pets, and it’s not impossible for them to get loose. So they did exactly the right thing while they were not sure what they were dealing with, as even rubber snakes are getting more and more accurate,” he told The Southend Standard.
Tristan Adams, one of the PCSOs, said they would always err on the side of caution in such situations, where there could possibly be a significant threat to members of the public.
“It was only a very realistic replica snake, but I’d rather we over-reacted to a false alarm than ignored a real emergency,” he added.
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