Police in Essex investigating reports of a unicorn being spotted in a field have called off the search and admitted that the photo they had received as evidence was ‘almost certainly a goat’.
The animal was seen near Earl Hall Drive in St Osyth, near Clacton-on-Sea, by a four year old girl on holiday with her parents. Lucy Jones saw a white animal with four legs in the distance, and a unicorn ‘was the first thing that came to mind’.
Essex Police said about 25 officers were called to where the animal was seen, including officers specially trained in mythology and a slightly strange old man who swears he used to ride unicorns through the forest when he was a boy. Officers decided to call off the search on Monday after no trace of a mythological, horse-like creature was found.
A police spokesman said: ‘Having looked again at the photo after our search failed to turn anything up we are now pretty confident that it’s a goat, which will pose no threat to members of the public.’
Police said their initial lines of enquiry focussed on nearby Colchester Zoo, but there were no reports of a unicorn having escaped.
‘The photograph shows an animal in a field, it is a white colour, but the photography is of such poor quality it's difficult to say with any degree of certainty that it’s a unicorn. And I’m sure that the horn has been drawn on in crayon.’ said Anthony Tropeano, Zoological Director of Colchester Zoo who visited the scene.
On Sunday night police had advised residents to stay indoors, but on Monday they said people should ‘go out and enjoy themselves’ but ‘be on the lookout for fictional horses with a single large horn’.
The spokesman said a circus had been in the area recently but added: ‘Officers have spoken to the circus and confirmed that they do not have an animal missing, nor do they have any unicorns. They did however say that they had seen a large number of clowns searching a field near where they had been, but they were not associated with the circus.’