‘A camel on the loose in Porthcawl? People have got very good imaginations…’

A prankster convinced dozens of people a camel was on the loose in Porthcawl in an internet hoax.

Rumours the animal had been charging around the town centre on Monday night spread like wildfire on social networking websites Facebook and Twitter after a joke started by student Shani Owens went viral.

Shani, 19, posted on her Facebook account that she had witnessed the camel walking down John Street on Monday.

Fears were raised that the runaway beast – more at home in the sand dunes of the Sahara than the South Wales seaside town – had escaped from Mondao Circus, which is at Coney Beach amusement park this week.

But the reports were rubbished by circus ringleader Petra Jackson.

“People are really enjoying seeing the animals but they have not been running around the streets,” said Petra. “If it was true we would not be doing our jobs properly and we would have the animal welfare people after us.”

She added: “People have got very good imaginations.”

WalesOnline tracked down prankster Shani, who admitted: “I made it all up myself. I don’t know why we came up with it but people believed it and it all kicked off from there.”

But that wasn’t the end of the laughs as Shani came face to face with the “real” camel ahead of Tuesday night’s circus performance.

“It was great fun,” she said. “I’m petrified of camels because one spat at me in Egypt but it was great fun.

“I don’t know how it snowballed but I’m still getting people coming up to me asking about camels.”

Article source: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/local-news/dozens-fall-camel-prank-porthcawl-2821044