A FUGITIVE wallaby has been captured after being rugby tackled by an off-duty firefighter – as fears grew for its safety.

The mystery marsupial, which first turned up in a woman’s garden in Lyme Regis earlier this week, was spotted again today on the town's seafront.

West Dorset District Council road sweepers Tom Ashe and Rob Arthur and Lyme boatman John King cornered it in a driveway in Church Street.

Lyme fire chief Virgil Turner was called in to help and told how he tackled it to the ground.

Mr Turner said: “Apparently he was by the traffic lights and cars were nearly hitting him.

“I went down to have a look and was just saying it was going to be difficult to catch and with that it bolted so I just rugby tackled it and the two council boys grabbed its head and put a cloth over it. It was quite calm after that.

“Then we had to wait ten minutes for John King to get a cage for it.”

Road sweeper Tom Ashe said: “We saw it hopping about on the seafront where I think a few other people had spotted it too. But then it disappeared.”

He added: “It reappeared and we then had a couple of attempts at catching it but it was only on the third go, with help from Virgil Turner that we finally managed to pin him down.”

The runaway was picked up by Andrew Collier, owner of the Axe Valley Bird and Animal Park in Devon, who will re-home it with 14 other wallabies.

He said: “It is not one of mine. Nobody has any idea where it has come from.

“They will live happily out in the wild. There are feral populations in about three or four places in the UK.”