Lion sparks panic on the streets after escaping from circus

A lion was filmed prowling the streets of an Italian seaside town for several hours after escaping from a circus.

Videos showed the big cat walking through dark and deserted streets of Ladispoli, near Rome, on Saturday evening.

Mayor Alessandro Grando warned residents to stay at home while police and circus staff sought to catch the animal.

In a Facebook post, more than five hours after his original message raised the alarm, Mr Grando said the lion had been "sedated and captured".

"Now he will be taken in hand by the circus staff," he wrote, thanking emergency services and volunteers who helped bring the beast, reportedly named Kimba, to heel.

"I hope that this episode can stir some consciences and that we can finally put an end to the exploitation of animals in circuses," the mayor added.

He further stated that he had not authorised the presence of a circus with lions in the town, but said he did not have the power to prevent it.