Escaped wallaby causes chaos on roads during rush-hour traffic

Wesley the wallaby is being cared for at Askham Bryan College, near York, by Nicky Broadhead, animal unit manager
Wesley the wallaby is being cared for at Askham Bryan College, near York, by Nicky Broadhead, animal unit manager
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An escaped wallaby forced the closure of a major road in York during rush-hour.

Some 15 police officers were involved in the operation to retrieve the animal, which fled from Askham Bryan College earlier this week.

North Yorkshire Police closed a section of the A1237 between Haxby and Strensall in North Yorkshire at around 6pm yesterday after the wallaby was spotted in the area.

A specialist vet was drafted in to help retrieve the animal, which was eventually cornered on an embankment near the North York Bypass, police said.

A tranquilliser dart was used to stop the wallaby, which was last night returned to the college where an animal management course is run.

Inspector Richard Mallinson said: “We detained the wallaby - without the use of handcuffs.

“The risk was, if the wallaby went across the road, it could have caused an accident.

“We have to look at the safety of the public first.

“It’s an animal not common in the UK so a specialist vet was brought in from Hull who used a tranquilliser dart.

“The experts advised we couldn’t use a Taser because it could kill the animal or make it wild.”

Representatives from Askham Bryan College were in attendance during the rescue, police confirmed.

The road was closed for around two hours while the animal was captured.

North Yorkshire Police force last night tweeted: “Good news. The Wallaby has been detained, no handcuffs required thanks to the help of a vet and lots of muddy officers.”

While native to Australia, there are small colonies of wallabies in the Lake District and around Loch Lomond in Scotland.

Last year a wallaby was seen around London’s Highgate cemetery.