Monday, 10 January 2011

Big cat was prowling around my garden, claims pensioner

Monday, January 10, 2011, 09:00

THREE sightings of big cats have been reported in Derbyshire since the new year.

A pensioner said she saw a panther-like creature in her Mickleover garden twice while a motorist claimed she saw a big cat while driving down a country lane.

And a dog-walker said he found a huge paw print in a Brailsford field.

Sheila Noble, 83, said she first saw a big black cat in her garden on New Year's Day.

She claimed she watched it jump over an eight-foot-tall gate.

"It was about 18 inches from the floor to the top of its head and it had the biggest yellow eyes I have ever seen," she said.

"We have a lot of cats in this area but this was about four times bigger. It was eating the bird food I had left on the floor. We haven't had many birds around lately and now I know why."

She said she saw the same creature again the following day and was 100 per cent certain it was a big cat.

She said: "I have seen pictures before of big cats and I thought it must definitely be one. It was lovely to look at with the most beautiful coat.

"I will be looking out for it now and I will be taking a photograph if I see it again."

And Kim Williams reported seeing a similar creature seven miles away in Findern last week.

The 50-year-old said she was driving down Findern Lane when she saw something come out of a hedge at the side of the road.

"I thought at first it was a big fox but then I noticed it was plain black," she said. "It ran straight across the road and into a field."

And a man who asked not to be named said he spotted a big paw print in mud in a Brailsford field while walking his dog.

He said: "I looked closer at it and was amazed at the size – it was about five inches wide. It was definitely too big to be a dog's paw."

Last year four big cat sightings were reported to Derbyshire police, compared to three in 2009, 2007, 2006 and 2005.

The figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, show sightings in 2010 were made in Mickleover, Littleover, Nether Heage and Overseal.

People who have seen big cats can also report it to the British Big Cats Society, which will investigate the claims.

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