A "deadly-looking" scorpion that forced residents to cordon off a street in the residential part of an English town for hours last Thursday turned out to be nothing but a child's toy.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said in a news release that worried members of the public contacted authorities after the bright red scorpion was found on the pavement by a child in the town of Grantham, birthplace of the late prime minister Margaret Thatcher.
“The callers were really concerned about the public’s safety so they used cones to cordon off the area and stood out in the street for two hours to ensure no one went near it,” animal collection officer Paula Jones said.
Jones said she was dealing with "another emergency elsewhere," but quickly headed over as some types of scorpions are highly venomous, making them "potentially very dangerous."
But when Jones and her colleague, deputy chief inspector Becky Lowe arrived, they realized the scary-looking creature was simply a fake toy made of rubber.
"It was quite funny after we realized it was a child’s toy and wouldn’t be a threat to anyone," Jones said. "But we really appreciate the concern of the woman and the efforts she went to."
The scorpion, now no-longer deemed a threat, has a new home -- inside the animal control officer's van.
“Cecil the scorpion is now my van buddy and keeps me company on the road," she said.
The charity organization said it deals with a number of reports each year involving potentially dangerous spiders, lizards and scorpions, which may have come to the United Kingdom in fruit boxes or inside luggage from vacation.
The incident was similar to one earlier this year, when armed police stormed a Scottish farm after receiving a report a tiger was on the loose – only to discover the big cat was a toy laying on the road.