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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 October 2005, 14:20 GMT 15:20 UK
Giant snake alert in seaside town
An alert has gone out to the public after reports of a 12ft snake being seen on the loose in Essex.

Police said the dark-coloured reptile was seen heading along Shoeburyness High Street early on Tuesday.

It was spotted by street cleaner Jim Garrod, who said his startled reaction disturbed the snake.

Mr Garrod said it made off towards parkland near Elm Road after he froze on seeing it before dropping his barrow and brooms.

Essex Police have alerted the public and appealed for anyone who has lost a snake to contact them.

Mr Garrod said: "I froze, I keep snakes myself but nothing that sort of size. I keep corn snakes which are between 4-5ft.

"This one could have been a Boa Constrictor or a very big Python," he said.

A police spokesman said that the sweeper kept snakes "so we do not doubt this reported sighting".

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