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Marsupial with Aussie origins turns up in a resident's orchard in Essex village near Haverhill

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It's not every day that someone living in Birdbrook has a marsupial native to Australia lounging around in their garden for the best part of a day - but that was just the case on Good Friday.

As this photo shows, a male wallaby made itself at home in the orchard adjoining the Finkle Green home of Birdbrook resident Matthew Allen.

Matthew has lived in Birdbrook for 40 of his 49 years, but has never before seen one of the animals, nor has he heard of one, in the village until now.

The wallaby resting in Matthew Allen's orchard (9099631)
The wallaby resting in Matthew Allen's orchard (9099631)

He said: "My neighbour spotted him at about nine o'clock in the morning. I took my wife off to work and I noticed him when i got back and my neighbour said he has been there since we went out and I'm surprised you didn't see him.

"I thought, we were not really looking for a wallaby when we went out and he was there until about eight o' clock in the evening.

"I have never seen a wallaby before. It's not something you expect to see.

"I literally stood there blinking, thinking no, it can't be."

Matthew put some water out in a bowl for the furry visitor - something he does anyway for other animals - and said he and his wife Kelly were able to get to within 20 to 30 feet of it before it hopped away.

It is possible, believes Matthew, that the animal was out looking for food and for a mate, but where he came from is a mystery.

Matthew said he called both Linton and Colchester zoos to see if they had lost a wallaby, but neither had, and both didn't want to take one in either.

In recent months there has been sightings of a wallaby reported in Clare, Glemsford and Foxearth, the latter of which is little more than ten miles from Birdbrook.