Shoppers got more than they bargained for at the Castle Mall yesterday, as a petting zoo set up outside Boots.

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Animal sanctuary Jurassic Encounters, run by Jamie Mintram and wife Michelle, brought some their animals to the shopping centre for people to meet.

Jaime said: “We have lots of animals at the sanctuary that would be too nervous to come out, but we brought some of our more confident animals along.”

Meerkats Phineas and Ferb proved especially popular with the crowds.

Jaime said: “The meerkats just want to see everything.

“They feel like they’re missing out!”

For a donation of 50p to East Coast Truckers, people could choose to get up close and personal with meerkats, a chameleon, skinny pigs, skunks and a boa constrictor.

Jake MacCormack, 10 from Norwich, held a meerkat, he said: “First I was scared, I thought he was going to bite me but then I got to hold him.”

Four year old Freya Dean held the chameleon, she said: “It was good, he licked me.”

Jaime said the sanctuary had been rescuing meerkats since their popularity increased after the Compare the Market adverts.

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