The rogue reptile – which was discovered last summer and named Joseph – is thought to have perished after temperatures plummeted.

A huge crocodile which petrified locals in Crete last summer has been found dead, according to officials.

The six-foot (1.82m) beast, nicknamed Joseph, is thought to have perished after temperatures on the Greek island plummeted during February.

He hit the headlines after being discovered in an artificial lake – and gained notoriety and plenty of attention from tourists after attempts to trap him proved futile.

It is believed the reptile was abandoned by his owner more than two years ago, and vets at a local natural history museum are going to conduct tests to determine the cause of death.

Locals were initially mystified when Joseph – known as “Sifis” in Cretan – randomly turned up near the seaside town of Rethymno.

However, his discovery helped residents to learn why lambs and ducks had begun to disappear from farmland. Crocodiles are not native to Crete, which explains why his appearance was such a shock.

This is not the first time that a crocodile has unexpectedly turned up in European lakes and rivers.

Back in 2001, a South American reptile was rescued by Austrian firemen from the Danube, and taken to a zoo in Vienna.