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Last Updated: Monday, 17 March 2008, 20:04 GMT
Wild things invade dealer's home
Mr Osbourne with one of his life-sized lions

A Newcastle wheeler-dealer thought he would be quids-in when he spotted 25 model animals for sale on the internet.

Joe Osbourne from Walker, clinched the deal but had no idea of the true size of the beasts until they arrived.

Now he has near life-sized zebras in his kitchen, a 9ft giraffe in his hallway and elephants in the bedroom.

The deal and importing fees from India are thought to have cost Mr Osbourne more than 1,000. But he is remaining tight-lipped about the final figure.

The 54-year-old said: "I am a bit mad and I like a challenge, but this a challenge that has even beaten me.

I've ended up with a house full of animals which nobody wants
Joe Osbourne

"It was just something I saw on the web to make a few quid, but I didn't think it through and I've ended up with a house full of animals which nobody wants.

"When you see a picture that says they are 2ft long by 2ft high it doesn't seem that big, but when it's 3ft wide it's a bit too much.

"I have spent quite a lot - lets say more than a pound and less than a million - but the real figure is my secret."

Mr Osbourne hopes the publicity will persuade potential buyers to come forward.

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