Police in southern Illinois, US, were concerned they might face a legal case after they had to shoot dead a seven stone, 5ft tall emu that was found tormenting drivers on a busy road.

Fearing the non-native flightless bird would cause a fatal accident, they blasted it with a shotgun five times, then sat tight waiting for its owner to phone.

"We figured someone would call and say, 'That's my bird!'," police chief Rich Miller, of small town Carbondale, said. "But we still haven't heard from anybody."