Members of the public in Southend have been warned to remain vigilant after it was reported that a pet CHIMPANZEE escaped from his family home in Fairfax Drive. 

Marion Peegi-Tipps reported seven-year-old Ron missing shortly after 9am this morning, and local police have confirmed that a number of road and air-based units are currently taking part in the search. 

Essex Police Primate Liaison Officer Natalie Quark said: ‘Members of the public need to remember that Ron is a domesticated chimpanzee, and so there is a very low chance that he will become aggressive if approached.’

‘Having said all of this, his handler has told us that he can become anxious when surrounded by very young children, and so we would advise anyone who sees him to contact the police immediately.’

‘Although he has a fondness for bananas, he also has a soft spot for doughnuts and chips – this is why we have dispatched extra officers to the seafront as part of the search.’

Ron is allowed to live with a local family under the government’s Chimpanzee Therapy Programme – a specially-licensed initiative that promotes the use of chimps as an educational tool for children with additional needs. 

He currently attends a number of local primary schools that have a fibre-optic light room as part of sensory play sessions, and it is hoped that Ron is found before the new school year gets underway in September. 

Ron The Chimpanzee

Ron arrived in Southend as a baby chimpanzee in 2009 after being born to a mother of 17 in Tanzania – his name was chosen locally by his host family who are all fans of Southend United. 

He has only escaped once before in 2013 when his sense of wanderlust took him all the way to Priory Park. Police caught up with Ron after a member of the public reported a ‘small and energetic hairy child’ throwing dog mess at the ducks.