A COUPLE from Edith Weston say they have seen a “big black cat”, the second sighting in the area in less than a week.
Kevin and Samantha Timms, of Ullswater Avenue, were out walking their dog in Wakerley Woods on Friday evening, when they say the cat walked across their path.
Kevin was first to spot the animal, and then quickly called to his wife Samantha, who was nearer to the cat with their jack russell Jack, on his lead.
Kevin, 38, said: “At first I thought it was a dog and I thought to myself ‘where’s the owner?’, but then I noticed it prowling.
“I got a good look at it. It was the size of a small labrador and had a very long tail.
“It couldn’t have been anything else other than a big cat.
“It was less than 100 yards away and slightly worrying, but it didn’t appear frightened by us and it just strolled off.
“I told my wife who was a lot closer to it than me and she was a bit frightened.
“We were both a bit worried about our dog Jack.”
Samantha said seeing the animal was unnerving and claimed that she would not walk Jack in the woods at twilight again.
She said: “I heard Kevin call out to me and when I saw it I initially just froze.
“I had heard people talk about a big cat in the area before but here it was in front of me.
“I didn’t want to go near it because I didn’t know whether it was dangerous or not, and I was worried about Jack.
“I’m very wary of it now and probably won’t be walking Jack in the woods at twilight again.”
Kevin then called Nigel Spencer, of Rutland Panther Watch, who believes it is the same cat spotted by glider Philip Sturley, 62, of Bull Brigg Lane, Whitwell, in a field in Barnack on Monday last week.
From the descriptions given by both Philip and Kevin, Nigel believes the animal is a black leopard.
Wakerley Woods is owned by the Forresty Commission.
A spokesman said it was the first reported sighting they had had on the land.
If you have seen any big cats you can report your sighting at www.bigcats.org.uk