THIS is the mischievous wolf which sparked a dramatic police operation after howling winds battered a sanctuary last night.

Torak escaped from UK Wolf Conservation Trust in Beenham shortly after 8am after heavy winds damaged the sanctuary and presented him with an escape route.

A nearby school had to be locked down while police officers and animal experts chased Torak for more than three miles towards Cold Ash, officers said.

Police warned residents to be alert and not to approach the wild animal as they spent more than four hours trying to snare him.

Torak was eventually rescued and escorted back to the wolf sanctuary without being harmed.

Wildlife management expert Nigel Baker, who helped capture Torak, said: "We had a situation where if we got close to the animal we could have tranquilised him.

"The problem we had was he kept moving at quite a rate. It was stop start and he got scared by a helicopter a few times.

"We got close to him eventually and one of the wolf trust staff who he knew managed to get a lead on him.

"The public was never in danger. He is a lovely animal, he is very timid. It would have been tragic if he had been shot.

"Thames Valley Police were very professional and so were the staff at the wolf trust.

"Hopefully he'll settle down now and be fine."