She may have been missing for three months, but furry fugitive Bandit the racoon has been found safe and well after a resident spotted her sunbathing in a garden.
Bandit went missing in April this year from Drusillas Park in Alfriston.
Judy Weatherhead from Alfriston discovered the furry escapee catching some rays on the roof of a garden shed on Friday (July 19).
Judy said: “It is all started at 6:30am this morning (Friday July 19) when we discovered the racoon on the shed roof.
“At first we were not quite sure whether it was a Maine Coon cat.
“All the neighbours helped and I am so pleased to have been involved in her safe return.
“I had become quite attached to her.”
Bandit originally absconded from the zoo on April 26 together with her sister Turpin.
Turpin was discovered a week later in the Go Wild! adventure play area by two school girls who were visiting the park.
But Bandit teased zoo staff by making a brief reappearance at Drusillas three weeks later before heading off on another adventure.
Since then keepers conducted daily searches but Bandit remained at large.
The recovery of Bandit (pictured) took several hours and involved five separate houses and gardens in Alfriston.
Zoo manager, Sue Woodgate led a team of keepers to the village and deputy head keeper, Jason O’Connell, finally caught the roaming racoon.
Bandit has now been returned safely to the zoo where her family reside.
Ms Woodgate said: “We are delighted to have her back.
“She looks well and seems in good health.
“One resident had even seen her eating avocado and mango from a recycling bin so it looks like she may have adopted some pretty expensive tastes.
“We would like to thank the residents of Alfriston who helped us tremendously in recovering Bandit from the initial phone report right through to her eventual return.
“We are keeping Bandit off show for the time being while we run a few health checks and settle her back into the zoo.
“She has had a very exciting few weeks.”
For more information about the zoo visit www.drusillas.co.uk