VILLAGERS are being gripped by jungle fever after a mystery tiger turned up on their doorsteps.
The big cat – not normally seen outside of a zoo or in the wild – has been making an impression by roaming all over Elwick, on the outskirts of Hartlepool.
But people have nothing to fear from the fierce beast as it is just a life-size plastic model that some mysterious joker has been moving around the village for the last few weeks.
The ‘animal’ spends a few days in certain location before disappearing overnight and appearing elsewhere causing much talk and amusement amongst villagers.
Steve Mailen, of Elwick Post Office and village shop, said: “It has been doing the rounds. Nobody knows anything, we have asked loads of people.
“We don’t know where it has come from or who is moving it. It has been the talk of the village for the last few weeks. It is quite funny actually.” The model caused drivers through the the middle of the village to do a double take when it appeared in a bus stop over the weekend.
But by Monday morning he was off on his travels again.
“A customer came in and said it is in The Paddock now,” added Steve.
“It started off in Hillcrest then went to North Lane. It disappeared for about a week when we thought it had been stolen but it appeared again in the bus stop.
“I think when it appears in a street the neighbours in houses where there are children move it from one house to another. But when it goes from one location to a new one it is obviously someone who is doing it.”
More strange characters will be cropping up in Elwick soon with the return of its popular Scarecrow Festival.
The community competition, in association with Castle Eden village, will start from June 14.
Judging will take place on Friday, June 21.
n Are you the mysterious tiger handler or do you know who they are? Contact the newsdesk on (01429) 239380 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.