15/02/2012 11:40 GMT | Updated 15/02/2012 11:52 GMT

German Police Red-Faced After Stuffed Penguin Spotted Floating Down The River (PICTURE)

Pity the poor officers working at Heidelberg police headquarters. Rushing to save a stranded penguin floating down the Neckar river, it was only after a full-scale rescue operation had been mounted that they realised the terrible truth...

It was a stuffed penguin. On a piece of ice. Bobbing down the river.

Presuming it was an animal who'd escaped from a nearby zoo, several passers-by called in to let them know a penguin was stranded in the river - despite it being pretty obvious it wasn't the real deal.

After all, how many penguins have you seen standing stock still for hours at a time?

"It was someone's idea of a joke about the freezing weather," explained one officer. Quite what the joke is, we're not sure, but there you go.

Of course, this isn't the first time a stuffed toy has caused a problem for the police. Two years ago, a bomb squad in Florida blew up a child's favourite horsey because they thought it was an explosive device.

Don't believe us? Take a look at the footage and judge for yourself.