AN EXOTIC creature normally only found in South America appears to have taken up residence on the lawn of one of south Bucks' leading hotels.

The capybara, which has been on the loose since escaping a private animal sanctuary earlier this year, seems to have decided to make the banks of the River Thames by The Compleat Angler Hotel its temporary home.

Last week, the MFP reported that ex-England goalkeeper David Seaman had been stunned at finding the animal when fishing at the site. Since then, fellow anglers have spotted him at the end of last week and the weekend. Hotel guests photographed him on Monday afternoon.

The Compleat Angler's manager Gaius Wyncoll said: "He seems to enjoy it very much by the river so we don't think he'll be looking to book one of our rooms.

"We have named him Jack and he is proving to be a bit of a friend to our small fishing syndicate. I believe that he likes our apples which are just ready for picking."

David Williamson, 66, retired, from Basingstoke, was dining at the hotel on Monday, with his friend Julie Parkyn, from Aylesbury, who saw him and took these photos/this photo.

"To say we were dumbfounded is an understatement, we really couldn't believe our eyes.

"This one we saw was very comfortable, that's the word I'd use. It wasn't in any way fazed by us being there and watching it.

"We're sensible enough around animals to not approach too close but we got within probably within eight yards of it and it just carried on eating, chomping away and very happy with itself.

"For me my immediate reaction was it was about the size of a Labrador but it's bulkier, it's body shape and size is larger than a dog.

"My first reaction was it was a beaver because it was by the river but as soon as I saw it with its head up was it was a capybara."

The capybara is the world's largest rodent, ahead of the beaver, weighing from 35 to 66 kg and standing up to 0.6 metres at the shoulder, with a length of about 1.2 metres.

He added: "Obviously it's decided it likes living at the angler."

The capybara escaped from a private sanctuary at the McAlpine's Fawley Hill estate, in May.

Lady Judi McAlpine has asked anyone who spots the animal to contact her, rather than the RSPCA, but said they do not plan to go out and attempt a recapture at the moment, expecting the creature to return when the weather cools. Animals at the sanctuary are not caged.