SHOPPERS were rubbing their eyes in disbelief as a camel strode through the streets of Chipping Norton carrying a villain this morning.

The stunt came courtesy of The Theatre, Chipping Norton, which was filming scenes for Aladdin, its annual pantomime.

The sight at one point became even more surreal, as a shed on wheels thundered past production crews.

Residents stood open-mouthed as the camel was led through the town centre, flanked by staff from Joseph's Amazing Camels, the only UK company specialising in the animals.

The unusual business is based in Idlicote, Warwickshire, just 15 miles north of the West Oxfordshire town and staff at The Theatre felt the opportunity was too good to miss.

Oxford Mail:

Marketing manager Tess Biles said: "We joked about doing something like that for Aladdin and it eventually stuck.

"Our producer started investigating it and we suddenly realised it could be a possibility."

Aladdin starts on Friday, November 14 and runs until January 13, with most days featuring two performances.

The cast is fully professional but the show also features several Pippins, young actors from local primary schools who audition for roles in the pantomime.

Oxford Mail:

The Theatre has held Christmas shows for many years and is expecting this year to be in high demand.

Ms Biles said: "We're very lucky that we've built up a good reputation for ourselves so we have families visiting from all over the place.

"We get a real mix of ages from tiny tots to grandmas and grandads."

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