Oct. 5 (UPI) -- A London man putting some old clothes into a donation bin called firefighters to rescue a "cat" that turned out to be a battery-operated toy.
Alan McElligott, an associate professor at the University of Roehampton in London, tweeted photos showing the scene that unfolded after he put some items into the bin and heard a "meow."
Police and firefighters responded to the scene and agreed that there seemed to be the sounds of a trapped cat -- possibly two cats -- inside the container.
"One of the police officers suggested we drop food in there in case the cats had been there for a few days. So I went to Sainsburys as I had my car nearby and bought wet cat food," McElligott told Deadline News.
"The fire brigade eventually turned up and used their heavy tools to open it. Once it was opened there was no sign of the cats so the firefighter looked around and moved some pieces of clothing around and picked up the toy cat," he said.
The battery-operated stuffed toy, a FurReal Friends cat, made "very convincing meows," McElligott said.
"It was activated by touch so after I dropped an old pair of shoes it activated it and started making noises," he said.
McElligott said the firefighters and police officers had a good laugh at the outcome of the unusual rescue.
"The two community officers, three police officers and the two firefighters started laughing," he said. "I went red faced and apologized. We all then left as quickly as possible."