Nelson’s finest got an unusual call out around midnight last night, when a stag strolled through the centre of Stoke.
Acting Senior Sergeant Nigel McMorran has confirmed that half a dozen police officers were called out around 12.30am after a member of the public reported seeing the stag on Arapiki Rd.
The stag then made his way along Main Rd Stoke and even stopped off at the Broadgreen Historic House on Nayland Rd.
To readers, this may seem like an April Fools story but to local woman Tania Read, it couldn’t be more real.
“I woke up and could hear some voices and I thought, ‘what’s that?’. So I’m peering out the window and then all of a sudden this great big stag runs down the street.”
At first, Tania, who was on Songer St, couldn’t believe her eyes.
“It took me a second to realise, we’re talking about 2 o’clock in the morning, you’re wondering why you’re awake and then suddenly a stag goes racing down the street.
“I went outside and there’s all these police cars trailing behind it and I said aloud, ‘did I just see that?’ And one of the policemen stuck his head out the window and said, ‘yes you did’.
“It was just trotting along like a horse does but it had these great big antlers and you go, ‘that’s no horse!'”
Tania says she is kicking herself for not grabbing her phone to take photos.
“No one believes me, even my husband said, ‘yeah right’ but then I read out what I had posted to facebook and he went, ‘really?’ and I said, ‘darling, it’s not an April Fools jokes when there’s a stag racing down the road’.”
Community Patrol member Jessica Young was also on the job last night and can confirm Tania’s story, getting a close look at the beast when helping police to herd it.
“We didn’t quite believe it when it came through the radio but we saw it, it was definitely real.
“It was standing amidst the bushes at Broadgreen House and the light was behind it so it was perfectly outlined, it was really cool seeing such a wild, majestic creature.”
Jessica says the officers from the five police units on scene had their guns out as a precaution and were trying to locate a tranquiliser but decided to return it to the area it came down from.
“It took a lot of resources but we couldn’t just leave it there. If it had gone out onto the road and someone had hit it, the stag could have gone through the windscreen and killed or injured someone.”
Jessica says she doesn’t think the night’s escapade will stop the stag from returning.
“I think it’s going to come back down from those bushes unless it finds a way to the Marsden Valley.”
Acting Senior Sergeant Nigel McMorran says the stag was last seen heading towards the hills from the intersection at the top of Songer St.
“[Police] had a bit of fun and games chasing it but it obviously knew its way home… they managed to round him back up into the hills and so now he’s up there somewhere.”
Local woman Joyce Bruning says she lives near Marsden Valley and has seen the stag before.
“The stag and maybe four other deer have been hanging around Marsden Valley especially around the cemetery for a few weeks now. I caught one in my headlight the other night and they didn’t move in a hurry.”
Do you have any photos or information? We’d love to hear from you, call our on-call reporter on 021972572 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.