Experts baffled as shoppers flee roaring beast
By SIMON DEAN
SHOPPERS fled in HORROR when a crazed HIPPOPOTAMUS charged at full pelt through a car park. Even more terrifying, the car park was not in the Congo or the Serengeti…it was in central MANCHESTER!
Mums snatched their children to safety and drunkards rubbed their disbelieving eyes as the one-and-ahalf- ton beast bellowed and roared just yards from a PET SHOP.
There is no suggestion that the hippo had escaped from the pet shop. Top-deck passengers on a number 216 bus passing the scene got a bird’s eye view of the mayhem that unfolded in Manchester’s unlovely Ancoats district. Witness Mark Montgomery said: “Two old dears on the seat in front of me were looking out of the window and one said ‘Look, there’s a bloke climbing on top of a car’. “I turned round and there was indeed a man on top of a car – with a bloody great hippo charging past him. I’ve seen some odd things in this takes the biscuit.”
The drama was captured by onlooker Neil Richards, 21, who filmed the episode on his mobile phone. Unemployed Neil, from nearby ironically-named New Islington, said: “I heard this bloke shouting and I thought it may have been someone legging it from the security guards at Toy ‘R’ Us. “Then I saw someone running – with a f***ing big hippo just behind him! F***ing mental. “I thought ‘F*** me, this will get me £250 on You’ve Been Framed!’ “To be honest, Sunday Sport wasn’t the first paper I went to, but none of the other f***ers in Fleet Steet believed us. W***ers!”
Gerry O’Reilly of the Ancoats and District Wildlife and Animal Society said: “This is very exciting news indeed. “Last year we thought we’d found some newts in the Rochdale Canal but they turned out to be dead hamsters that someone had tossed in. “A genuine hippo in Ancoats would be a massive boost for the area. Finally people would come here for the wildlife – and not just the cheap hookers.”
But Dr Kuth Snaith, director of the Department of African Mammals at the University of West Lancashire, could hardly contain his contempt when asked about the hippo incident. He spat: “This is a serious African mammal research department. We are not here to fuel the foolish panic of hysteriacs. “Last week we had the world and his wife phoning up asking for a comment about that so-called ‘Essex Lion’ and now you are asking me about a hippopotamus in Manchester. “Look, this is probably some students from the drama school in a painted sheet, or maybe the silly arses have managed to somehow shave a cow. Last year the bastards got me with a gorilla suit. “Let me state quite categorically – there are no hippopotamuses in Manchester.”
He added, loudly: “And NO! It is not hippopotami, it is always hippopotamuses – now f*** off!”