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Last Updated: Friday, 2 November 2007, 11:02 GMT
Australian crocodile kept in cell
A file photo of a saltwater crocodile in Australia
Saltwater crocodiles have been known to attack small boats
Police in northern Australia kept a 2.4m (7ft 9in) saltwater crocodile in a cell overnight after it menaced local fishermen.

Officials in Nhulunbuy were left with "no other option" after capturing the crocodile late in the evening, Senior Constable Wade Marshall said.

He told the BBC News website that police had placed the reptile in an unused cell in the police station.

In the morning, the male crocodile was taken to a nearby crocodile farm.

Mr Marshall said police had reacted after receiving reports that the crocodile "had a go at some fishermen retrieving their boat at the local boat ramp".

When officials arrived at the scene the crocodile was about 30m from the ramp.

They waited until nightfall, when the reptiles are apparently easier to spot, before capturing it.

'Looked after'

"After a couple of attempts and after three hours we managed to catch it and retrieve it," Mr Marshall said.

"We kept it in one of the cells which is unserviceable at the moment.

"We looked after it. It was kept on a wet blanket and hosed regularly with water."

The crocodile's eyes were also covered to prevent it from becoming agitated.

Mr Marshall said police in the Northern Territory town had so far been unable to speak to the fishermen threatened by the crocodile, so they had posted notices appealing for more information about the incident.

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