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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 June, 2003, 08:40 GMT 09:40 UK
Croc shock in Cannock
Cannock is not renowned for its ferocious wildlife
Loch Ness has its monster and Bodmin its beast, but is a ferocious reptile set to put a small corner of Staffordshire on the map?

Police were called to a pool in Roman View, Churchbridge, Cannock, to investigate reports that an alligator-type creature was lurking in a pool.

Joined by RSPCA inspectors and an animal expert, they trawled the entire area without catching a glimpse of anything more terrifying than a few fish.

The intrepid search team concluded that the creature could have been nothing more dramatic than a large basking carp.

There was a commotion in the water and lots of turbulence
An anonymous witness

But locals are not convinced.

The man who called the emergency services said he saw the creature as he was feeding swans with his family.

"We were there looking at the two swans and their baby cygnets.

"There was a commotion in the water and lots of turbulence.

"As the creature went past I saw it had a flat head, a five-foot-long body, and two-foot tail.

'Snaking action'

"It was not smooth and was moving in a snaking action. My initial reaction was it was a crocodile or alligator."

He has asked not to be named.

Linda Charteras, from nearby Cheslyn Hay, was also out feeding the swans on Saturday afternoon.

"I saw the creature first. A large pool of dirt came up. It looked as though it was after one of the cygnets," she said.

Cannock is not the Florida Everglades
RSPCA spokeswoman

An RSPCA spokeswoman told BBC News Online they had not received any more calls since the sighting was reported on Friday.

She said the animal was more likely to have been a big fish in a small pond.

"Large carp can look to the untrained eye to be some kind of weird creature."

She said: "We're treating it as an instance of someone not having seen what they thought they saw."

She added that if the animal was a crocodile or alligator, its presence in Staffordshire could probably only be explained by the creature escaping from a zoo or private collection.

"Cannock is not the Florida Everglades so it is hard to imagine an alligator surviving for long in the heat and light you get in this country," she said.

The BBC's Ashley Blake
"It's not exactly Loch Ness, but it has become something of a tourist attraction"

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09 Sep 02  |  Scotland
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25 Oct 01  |  Science/Nature
Croc snatch in New York park
22 Jun 01  |  Americas

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