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Winchcombe 'panther' spotted prowling and snarling

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: April 09, 2012

  • Winchcombe black cat pictured top left

  • Camera shock: Keith Baker and Carrie Short who claim to have seen the 'big cat' around Winchcombe

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IT HAS been spotted prowling through fields in Winchcombe and has even snarled at residents who have dared to try and get close.

Now people in a small street in the town say they believe a panther-like beast is living among them.

Mount View Drive residents have been gripped by fear and curiosity since they discovered the "big cat" wandering the fields near their homes.

Keith Baker said: "I have seen it at least 10 times.

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"It is a panther, there are no two ways about it, it is far too big to be a normal cat. I have seen it walking around the first hedge near our street.

"I went up to get a picture and it started snarling at me, which was a bit frightening."

Mr Baker has got within 20 yards of the creature and has also collected some of its fur from barbed wire in the field which he hopes could be used for DNA analysis.

He said: "It looked straight at me and there is no way it is a domestic cat. I would say there is more than one as well. We saw one that was similar but smaller, which I think is a cub."

Crowds have gathered at the new estate hoping to see the mysterious beast. And giant paw prints have dotted the fields. Mother-of-three Carrie Short, who also lives in Mount View Drive, has even managed to take some footage of what she believes is a big cat.

She first saw the animal in January.

"I was talking to one of my neighbours and something just caught the corner of my eye," she said. "I turned around and we saw it. There is no way it is a domestic cat. It was massive."

Mrs Short reckons the beast is at least three foot long from head to bottom. "I saw it pretty clearly, it is big with a large tail. Comparing it to my neighbours Labrador, I would say it is at least the same size. It looks black from far away but when you get closer, it is more of a flecked brown colour. And its facial features are not those of a normal cat."

The 32-year-old says she is 99.9 per cent certain it is some species of big cat. "I have always been sceptical," she said.

"Until I saw it with my own eyes I didn't believe these things existed."

She added: "People have said Winchcombe and Gretton are hot spots for these animals. The only time I have seen a cat that size is in the zoo."

Stories of possible sightings have bounded around the neighbourhood.

Mrs Short said one woman told her she was walking her dog and she came across a big cat lying in a field. Someone else nearly hit the animal when it ran out in front of their car.

Gloucestershire big cat tracker Frank Tunbridge has offered to take a look at footage of the animal.

He said: "There have been quite a few sightings before in the Winchcombe and Cleeve Hill area.

"It is interesting that the residents have seen a possible cub too.

"They would typically have their babies at around March time, so by now it could be a juvenile. It would be very interesting to see the pictures."

OPINION, P8

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  • FreeRadical1  |  April 10 2012, 5:49PM

    hairy****, your slip's showing...

    Rate   3
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  • the_mogul  |  April 09 2012, 10:52PM

    Gloucestershire big cat tracker Frank Tunbridge has offered to take a look at footage of the animal. He said: "There have been quite a few sightings before in the Winchcombe and Cleeve Hill area. "It is interesting that the residents have seen a possible cub too. "They would typically have their babies at around March time, so by now it could be a juvenile. It would be very interesting to see the pictures." Ahhhh Frank Tunbridge, Gloucester's answer to the question that no one asked. Thanks for 'offering' to take a look. I would rather you didn't and concentrated on your day job. Or when you completed the census did you complete you occupation of 'big cat tracker' and your religion as 'black panther'?

    Rate   -15
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  • holex  |  April 09 2012, 10:29PM

    I hope i'm not the only one waiting for the two people walking in the picture to come forward and say it is infact their black labrador..

    Rate   6
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  • Panthera_Noir  |  April 09 2012, 10:23PM

    it seems as if Bigcatman would rather hide his past and the time when he decided that a photo of a moggy was indeed likely to be a "young leopard".

    Rate   1
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  • chrisrainbow  |  April 09 2012, 6:50PM

    sorry folks,it was me all the time.i was annoyed about library cuts and was after hawthornes blood

    Rate   1
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  • Panthera_Noir  |  April 09 2012, 1:17PM

    lol !! Not a sardine though .......... just a can of Tuna, hoping the panther brings its own tin opener.

    Rate   2
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  • 2ladybugs  |  April 09 2012, 12:49PM

    @Panthera_Noir I approve of your "baited breath" rather than "bated breath". It stirs up visions of you sitting there, with a sardine in your mouth, trying to lure the big cat.

    Rate   9
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  • 2ladybugs  |  April 09 2012, 12:16PM

    @Douglasknows Ha! Ha! yes, quite. I sure know my stuff but if you think my idea of fun is camping in the middle of a field with the chance of a big cat creeping in, in the middle of the night, you have another think coming. Think I will just stick to a hotel and the vintage bottles of claret.

    Rate   2
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  • hairybeastie  |  April 09 2012, 12:14PM

    by dontyaknow Until we can see a half decent picture I remain unconvinced. Even the most basic of camera phones would provide a reasonable picture if someone got within 20 yards of it. I very much look forward to hearing about the results of the DNA test. I second that, anyone these days has a reasonable mobile with a minimum of a 2mp camera which can give a good A4 print with 100% crop. The picture shows a domestic black cat and nothing more, no big cat and no cubs or signs of it. Even the BBC show Land of the Lost Wolves, the team of experts found it near on impossible to find any such animals, hence the name, ghost of the forest was given by the native indians.

    Rate   -12
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  • Douglasknows  |  April 09 2012, 12:03PM

    You seem to know your stuff 2ladybugs, just a word of advice though, shoot the gun first!

    Rate   1
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