Page last updated at 12:57 GMT, Thursday, 30 October 2008

Investigation into cheetah escape

An investigation has begun into how a cheetah was able to escape from a zoo and wander into a family's back garden.

Officers from Huntingdonshire District Council are due to visit Hamerton Zoo in Hamerton, Cambridgeshire, after a nine-year-old discovered the cheetah.

Toby Taylor ran indoors when he encountered the animal and zoo keepers arrived soon after to recapture it.

A council spokeswoman said the zoo notified its officers of the escape and it was now being investigated.

The three-year-old hand-reared cheetah is thought to have escaped through a faulty electric fence on Friday.

The spokeswoman for Huntingdonshire District Council said: "Our environmental health officers are responsible for licensing of zoos and dangerous animals.

"The zoo reported the escape to us and we are aware that there was a faulty electric fence unit which has been replaced.

"We are now investigating."

Andrew Swales, the zoo's director, said the animal would not have posed a danger to the boy.

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