Watch my back, Orlov: Leeds meerkats in Great-Escape bid for freedom - simples!

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A mob of mischievous meerkats are in isolation at Tropical World after attempting a Great Escape-style bid for freedom.

The popular animals have now been removed from public view after four of the most daring and inquisitive in the group tunnelled their way out of the enclosure into a nearby section of cactus beds.

Meerkats, popularised by the TV commercial characters Orlov and Sergei and their catchphrase, ‘Simples!’, are well known to enjoy a spot of digging, and when an eagle-eyed member of the public spotted the escapees they were returned back safe and sound to their family and friends.

The meerkats are now being looked after by the Tropical World team in another area of the attraction, which means they will not be on view to the public until repairs are completed.

Coun Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member for communities said: “We all love the meerkats at Tropical World because of their inquisitive and cheeky nature, but even we were shocked when we discovered four of the gang had sneakily tunnelled their way out of the enclosure and into a section of nearby cactus beds several metres away!

“Thankfully a member of the public spotted their amazing escape and they are now back enjoying themselves with family and friends, but this will mean that the public will not be able to see them for a short while as we do some repairs and make the enclosure secure. We apologise for any inconvenience, and look forward to welcoming back the meerkats in the near future.”