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Bird causing traffic chaos on A12 returned home

PUBLISHED: 17:45 21 March 2019 | UPDATED: 07:54 22 March 2019

The rhea on the A12 towards Ipswich by Colchester United FC's stadium. Pictures: LUKE SCOFIELD

The rhea on the A12 towards Ipswich by Colchester United FC's stadium. Pictures: LUKE SCOFIELD

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An escaped rhea caused major rush hour tailbacks stretching several miles after straying on to the A12 near Colchester United FC stadium.

The rhea, which went for a The rhea, which went for a "wander" on the A12 on Thursday has been returned safely home. Pictures: PC JAMES IRELAND

Drivers reported queues of at least five miles long in the north-bound direction during the evening peak period on Thursday March 21.

It was not known where the rhea has escaped from as it headed southbound along the northbound carriageway of the A12 towards Ipswich.

The bird, which is believed to be a rhea has also been referred to as an ostrich.

Motorist Natalie Sadler said: “An ostrich is causing traffic chaos. An ostrich. It has caused tailbacks of at least five miles heading towards Ipswich.”

Luke Scofield, who was also caught up in the chaos, said on Twitter: “It was very unexpected. It was only a short delay. It ran across the road, stopped a few cars. Then ran off to cause some more problems. Was able to get away quite quickly fortunately!”

Motorists caught in the the traffic were captured on video trying to move the bird off the northbound carriageway.

A spokeswoman for Highways England said: “We are aware of bird on the loose between junctions 27 and 28 of the A12 near Colchester.

“We do not have authority over the road, although Essex Police have been called to deal with the scene.”

A spokeswoman for Essex Police, who were attending the scene, said: “We were contacted at around 5.30pm on Thursday March 21 following reports that an ostrich was running loose between junction 27 and 28 of the carriageway.

“Officers attended the scene to support Highways England colleagues and the ostrich was located at around 7pm.”

Police constable James Ireland has since taken to Twitter to say that the “cheeky chap” has been returned safely to his home.

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