A mischievous emu who held police to ransom for days after going on the run has finally been caught in South Yorkshire.

Ethel’s escapades began last week when she was accidentally let out of her enclosure by builders working on her owner Kerry Dobson’s Doncaster home. The six-foot-tall bird saw her opportunity and made a run for it but later got lost in woodland.

For the next five days, Ethel would elude the police and RSPCA by making her way from the Newlands Park through to the Trans Pennine Trail near Cosworth, before heading 10 miles east to Dunscroft.

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Ethel was spotted at several locations in Doncaster and the Facebook group ‘Our Sprotbrough’ posted dozens of pictures of the wandering emu in a bid to trace her.

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A friend of Ethel’s owner revealed on Facebook that the city-wide search for the bird was over, after she was captured near a school on Monday night.

Victoria Elizabeth Robinson-Hewitt said the bird – which can run at speeds of up to 30mph – was found near Richmond Hill Primary School and is safe back at home.

She said: ‘Kerry said they were having some work done and it was the builders that accidentally let her out. But Ethel is home safe and sound.

‘I heard about an emu on the loose in Cusworth, later found out it was Kerry’s so put out a post in our Sprotbrough group. Everyone was so responsive and could track her whereabouts.

‘Kerry told me Ethel was with her son Macauley last night around Richmond Hill School and that she was home.’

Victoria thanked everyone for their help in getting Ethel home, adding: ‘She’s home, thank you all for sharing – group effort, this. It’s amazing what pulling together can do.’

Another friend, Dawn Chambers, was overjoyed at the news that Ethel had been brought home and joked that she could use a lead to prevent another escape.

She said: ‘Yes, Ethel the emu has landed home. Kerry, so happy for you – think Ethel needs a lead.’

However, Rod Bloor, who owns the land in Sprotbrough where the bird is usually strutting about, claims Ethel is a wild emu who has always wandered around his woodlands.

But the RSPCA said it’s highly unlikely that there are any wild emus in Britain.

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