An escaped emu has been caught by police after it was seen walking through a North Devon town during rush-hour yesterday. Devon and Cornwall Police were called to Barnstaple after the 4ft flightless bird was seen near Pilton Park. Acting Sergeant Zoe Parnell and PCSO Stephen Huxtable found the emu at around 8am.
A police spokesman said: "Although the bird was in a state of panic they managed to coax it into the rear of the police car and call the owner." Pc Parnell said the emu was "running up and down the street, trying to get into people's houses - before it was caught. She said: "When we first had the call from the public, I thought it was a bit of a wind-up.
"But when I arrived at the scene to check it out, I could see this bird in the street. It was trying to get into people's houses. I must admit that while I'm not normally scared of birds, I was a bit nervous with this one." The bird was later caught by PCSO Huxtable, who picked up the fugitive and put it in the back of Pc Parnell's police car.
The 31-year-old added: "I've been in the police force for seven years now, and I must say this is one of the most bizarre incidents I have ever been called to." The Emu has since been handed to Diana Lewis, who runs an "animal ambulance" service in North Devon, and will later be reunited with its owner, police said.