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Sunday, 21 September 2014

‘Big cat’ spotted on Cumbria road

A COUPLE claim to have spotted a mysterious panther-like big cat while on holiday in the Lakes.

Howard and Lesley Anderton were on the B5278 north of Flookburgh on Tuesday when they claim to have seen the “monstrous” cat crossing the road in front of their car.

The two retirees thought they were seeing things and could scarcely believe their eyes when the animal slinked off into the woods.

“We both immediately said it was a panther – a black panther – which, of course, seems ridiculous in Cumbria,” Mr Anderton, from Wigan, said.

“We only saw it for about two seconds. It wasn’t running or anything, it was just walking cat-like across the road and disappeared into the woodland on the left hand side. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get a photograph because it was only there for a couple of seconds and then it was gone.”

Mr Anderton said although he and his wife only got a glimpse of the animal, it was long enough for them to be sure it was like nothing else they had seen before.

“We only saw it very, very briefly. I would say it was between four and five feet in length and it had a really, really long tail,” he said.

“Both myself and my wife are quite well up on animals and birds and this was a lot bigger than a domesticated cat and it was definitely not a badger or a fox.”

Cumbria police has received more than 40 reported “big cat” sightings since 2003, but no irrefutable evidence has ever been produced. Big Cats in Britain compiles reported sightings of big cats. Member Nigel Spencer said: “There are plenty of people who will say it’s rubbish, but there are also a lot of perfectly sane and reputable people who have seen big cats.”

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