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Subject: Rubber snake clears yacht club

Written By: Philip Eno on 10/20/10 at 3:00 pm

Two police community support officers ordered a yacht club to be evacuated after spotting a cobra - only to discover it was a rubber toy.

The PCSOs raised the alarm after spotting the 'cobra' curled around the handlebars of a bicycle, reports the Daily Telegraph.

They cleared the area around Thorpe Bay Yacht Club, in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, while they called in expert help.

Staff at the Essex Police control room rang up specialist Iain Newby, owner of the Dangerous and Wild Animal Rescue Facility in nearby Great Wakering.

Mr Newby said: "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.

"I spotted the officers beside the yacht club boat yard when they said it was a rubber model. I must admit I laughed and asked if I could keep the snake."

Despite the blunder, Mr Newby praised the PCSOs for their quick-thinking.

He said: "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 are dealing with, as even rubber snakes are getting more and more accurate."

PCSO Tristan Adams, of Essex Police, said: "It was only a very realistic replica snake, but I'd rather we'd over-reacted to a false alarm than ignored a real emergency."

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