Police officers were called to a report of a snake lurking on a patio garden area next to a block of flats in Carshalton in the London Borough of Sutton last Friday. Police were called at 06:36hrs by the RSPCA who had received a call from a member of the public, who was especially concerned because the snake was spotted near local schools.
Officers attended and viewed the reptile from the street about 2-3 metres away and repositioned themselves to take a photograph of it from above about 1.5 metres away. It seemed to have blended in with the colour of its surroundings - as if for its own protection.
One of the officers attending observed: “It wasn’t moving but they can stay still for a long time.
“We didn’t want to move in too close in case we disturbed it.”
Officers then made enquiries at the flats - only for a resident to reveal it was a garden ornament.
Sutton Chief Inspector Julian Hagley said the RSPCA had informed them it was out of hours and the snake might have disappeared by the time their officers had arrived.
“It’s the job of the police to protect the public and it only took a few minutes to establish that the snake wasn’t real. For all we know, the consequences of not attending might have resulted in word spreading and understandable concern from local residents,” said Chief Insp Hagley.