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Croc sensation in France fizzles

BOULOGNE-SUR-MER, France, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- The French Coastguard has checked out a report of a crocodile in the English Channel and announced it was actually a piece of driftwood.

A number of witnesses called the authorities this week to report what looked like a 12-foot croc loitering around the sailboats docked at Boulogne-sur-Mer, prompting local officials to ban swimming on the channel beaches in the area.

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A massive search for the reptile was launched and wildlife experts cautioned that a cold-blooded creature would be particularly cranky and dangerous in the chilly waters of the channel, The Daily Telegraph reported.

The sightings caused a sensation. The beast was even nicknamed "Croc Monsieur" in the media.

The alarm was called off after a coastguard crew spotted their quarry and found it to be a large chunk of wood.

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