Sunday, 16 January 2011

Dorset 'beast' sighting near Batcombe sparks further mystery

Large black cat sighting fuels intrigue
9:00am Thursday 13th January 2011
By Arron Hendy

THE beast of Dorset has been spotted roaming the countryside again.

This time the large black cat – said to be much larger than a domestic cat – was seen as it ran in front of a council roadworks lorry near Batcombe, outside Dorchester.

And another Dorset resident has spotted a large black cat near Abbotsbury.

Gritter lorry driver Mike Ward said he was at the wheel of a Dorset Works Organisation truck on a road off the A37 when the animal ran in front of him and disappeared through a hedge.

And he said it’s not the first time he has seen a large cat.

Mr Ward, aged 47, of Kings Road, Dorchester, said: “It was too big to be a domestic cat.

“It passed me across the road and I’ve seen them before.

“I saw one at Hardy’s Monument before and one at Netherbury near Bridport.”

Last year sightings of a large ‘puma shaped’ cat by Dorset Echo readers happened in Crossways, Bockhampton and near the Ridgeway.

Mr Ward added: “It was pretty quick across the road and then it went into the hedge and just seemed to disappear.

“The bloke who was with me was not looking and did not believe me.

“He thought I was making it up and said I was dreaming.”

Big cat book author Merrily Harpur said a sighting has also been reported to her from close to the B3157 Bridport to Weymouth coast road.

She said: “There’s been a sighting near Ashley Chase in the last three weeks.

“It’s one of those mysteries that goes on and on.

“The sighting of a black panther-like animal has become Britain’s most common encounter with the unknown.”

Mrs Harpur, from Cattistock, is recording sightings for a follow up to her book Roaming Dorset! Encounters with Big Cats.

She said there were more than 300 sightings last year and others do not report their experiences for fear of people not believing them.

She said: “The weight of eyewitness evidence is absolutely huge and completely convincing in my view but the physical evidence remains fairly unconvincing.”

* If you believe you have seen a big cat roaming Dorset call Arron Hendy on 01305 830981 or email

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