Three children discovered a .22-calibre long rifle while playing in a park on Saturday morning.

"/> Three children discovered a .22-calibre long rifle while playing in a park on Saturday morning.

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OFFBEAT

Kids find loaded gun in Paris sandbox

Three children discovered a .22-calibre long rifle while playing in a park on Saturday morning.

The weapon was buried just beneath the surface of a sandbox in the Square Emile-Chautemps in the Marais. It contained seven cartridges and had been wrapped in a plastic bag.

The mother of one of the children told Le Parisien “it was one of the little girls that unearthed it. She showed it to her mother who snatched it from her hands, although the girl didn’t want to let it go. If my son had discovered it, he would have definitely tried to use it.”

The mayor of the 3rd arrondissement, Pierre Aidenbaum, told Metro “we don’t know what happened. The park is closed at night and it’s unthinkable that someone could have hidden it there in broad daylight.”

The gun has been sent to a police laboratory to test for fingerprints.

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OFFBEAT

France’s mystery rooftop panther stolen from zoo

A black panther rescued from rooftops near the northern city of Lille last week has been stolen from the zoo where it was taken after capture, officials said.

France's mystery rooftop panther stolen from zoo
Photo: AFP/ Sapeurs Pompiers du Nord

The feline was seized overnight from the zoo in Maubeuge near the Belgian border, the city's mayor, Arnaud Decagny, told AFP on Tuesday.

“This animal was the only target,” Decagny said, adding that “considerable efforts” were made to force locks and avoid security systems.

Zoo personnel are worried about the young panther's health, “which is rather delicate because he lacks strength,” the mayor added, saying the animal was just a few months old and weighed between 25 and 30kg.

The panther after its capture. Photo League Protectrice des Animaux de la Nord de France/AFP

The panther was going to be transferred to a centre specialised in rehabilitating wild animals that had been domesticated.

Firefighters caught the cat last Wednesday as it roamed rooftops in Armentieres after escaping through the window of a private apartment believed to have been its home.

The panther's owner is thought to have escaped through the same window, for fear of being charged with illegally harbouring a wild animal.

Police have not located the fugitive owner, who could face charges of endangering the public, which is punishable by up to a year in prison and €15,000 in fines, Decagny said.

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