British police said Monday they had called off their search for a suspected "big cat" after reports of a lion being spotted in a field near a seaside town.
Police in the county of Essex, eastern England, said in a statement they believed the animal seen sitting in grassland in the village of St Osyth on Sunday was "either a large domestic cat or wild cat".
The statement said officers ended the search at 2pm (1300 GMT) on Monday after finding no trace of the animal.
"Extensive searches have been carried out, areas examined and witnesses spoken to, yet nothing has been found to suggest that a lion was in the area," the statement said.
Police explained that public safety had "remained at the forefront of the policing operation, with the force advising people to once again return to normal life."
Armed officers had spent the night scouring the area, while a police helicopter with heat-seeking equipment was deployed to help find the animal, alongside zoo workers armed with tranquilliser guns.
Officers were contacted shortly before 7pm (1800 GMT) on Sunday with a sighting by holidaymakers of the animal near Clacton-on-Sea.
Essex Police said their officers had been working with experts from nearby Colchester Zoo who believed the reports to be genuine after being shown a photograph from a member of the public.
A spokesperson said that a member of the public had reported finding a large footprint or pugmark.
He said around a dozen officers were still involved in the search on Monday.
Local resident Che Kevlin said he had heard what he believed to be a roar whilst out walking his dog on Sunday night.
"I heard a loud roar at 10pm. It sounded like a lion," he told BBC television.
"It was worrying as we had just been for a walk with the dog. We saw the police helicopter but thought it was just searching for a person."